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Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina). It can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated.

type 2 diabetes fastin and nonfasting blood sugar explained (đŸ”„ dinner recipes) | type 2 diabetes fastin and nonfasting blood sugar factshow to type 2 diabetes fastin and nonfasting blood sugar for However, it usually takes several years for diabetic retinopathy to reach a stage where it could threaten your sight.

To minimise the risk of this happening, people with diabetes should:

  • ensure they control their blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol
  • attend diabetic eye screening appointments – annual screening is offered to all people with diabetes aged 12 and over to pick up and treat any problems early on

How diabetes can affect the eyes

The retina is the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye that converts light into electrical signals. The signals are sent to the brain which turns the 1 last update 04 Jul 2020 them into the images you see.The retina is the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye that converts light into electrical signals. The signals are sent to the brain which turns them into the images you see.

The retina needs a constant supply of blood, which it receives through a network of tiny blood vessels. Over time, a persistently high blood sugar level can damage these blood vessels in 3 main stages:

  • background retinopathy – tiny bulges develop in the blood vessels, which may bleed slightly but don''re at a greater risk if you:

    • have had diabetes for a long time
    • have a persistently high blood sugar (blood glucose) level
    • have high blood pressure
    • have high cholesterol
    • are pregnant
    • are of Asian or Afro-Caribbean background

    By keeping your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control, you can reduce your chances of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy

You won''t tend to have any obvious symptoms until it''t necessarily mean you have diabetic retinopathy, but it''t wait until your next screening appointment.

Diabetic eye screening

Everyone with diabetes who is 12 years old or over is invited for eye screening once a year.

type 2 diabetes fastin and nonfasting blood sugar glucose levels (🔮 by race) | type 2 diabetes fastin and nonfasting blood sugar with weight losshow to type 2 diabetes fastin and nonfasting blood sugar for Screening for 1 last update 04 Jul 2020 is offered because:Screening is offered because:

  • diabetic retinopathy doesn''t reached this stage, the above advice on managing your diabetes is recommended.

    The main treatments for more advanced diabetic retinopathy are:

    • laser treatment
    • injections of medication into your eyes
    • an operation to remove blood or scar tissue from your eyes

    Read more about the treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

Page last reviewed: 30 October 2018
Next review due: 30 October 2021