Diabetic retinopathy is a frequent complication of diabetes where high blood sugar levels block the blood vessels in the eye which then causes damage to the retina (the back of the eye). Retinal damage can lead to vision loss. This is usually partial but, in extreme cases or without any treatment, you may become blind.
What are the symptoms?
In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy often displays no symptoms. Once vision loss is experienced, however, it is often permanent.
How is diabetic retinopathy treated?
Prevention is far better than treatment, which is most easily achieved by having an annual screening for diabetic retinopathy with your optician. Screening is available to all diabetic patients and is fully funded by the NHS.
Once diabetic retinopathy has been diagnosed, it can be treated successfully in the early stages through effective management of your diabetes. If the diabetic retinopathy has developed further, however, laser surgery or intravitreal injections may be needed to prevent or limit further damage to the retina.