Understanding Diabetic Retinopathy

Posted on: 25 June 2020

People with diabetes are at risk of suffering from diabetic retinopathy, which is a disease that affects the blood vessels in your retina. The retina is a part of your eye where images are formed for you to be able to see. This means that you can easily go blind if you have diabetes and diabetes retinopathy.

What Happens?

Excess sugar in diabetic people's blood can affect blood vessels all over the body. Since the blood vessels in your eye are small, that is why you might start noticing visual symptoms. The tiny vessels end up getting blocked, leaking fluid or bleeding. Each of these occurrences causes different kinds of eye conditions, meaning that you can be suffering from diabetic retinopathy and still have DME (Diabetic Macular Edema), which is caused by leaking fluid. You can also have glaucoma caused by blocked retina blood vessels.

What Symptoms Do You Experience?

Sometimes, symptoms may not present themselves early; they might mostly start during the late stages of diabetic retinopathy. If you start having blurry vision, which makes you have difficulty reading and seeing things that are far from you, visit a cataract doctor as soon as possible, even if the symptoms clear. You might also see black floating streaks or spots in your vision.

What to Expect When You Visit a Cataract Doctor

The cataract doctor will inspect your eye using a piece of equipment that helps him or her see what is happening inside your eye. Expect the doctor to first ask you various questions to help him or her understand your symptoms and health history.

An eye drop is then placed in your eye to help widen your pupil for better visualisation. You might then be asked to look straight into a lens connected to a machine. The cataract doctor sits on the other side of the lens to either look through a lens located on his or her side but connected to the lens on your side or look at a monitor connected to the eye inspection machine.


After inspecting your eye, the cataract doctor will have a better diagnosis. You can either be found to have diabetic retinopathy that may have led to DME or glaucoma. Sometimes, you can also have scarring in your retina. These scars pull your retina away from its normal position causing loss of vision; the condition is known as retinal detachment.


The earlier diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed, the better; this is because the treatment or management measures are not extensive. You might require regular monitoring, taking of various medication, changes in diet, placing eye drops, etc.

The later stages of diabetic retinopathy may mean that you might also have DME, retinal detachment or glaucoma. Treatment for these conditions may require oral and injection medication, eye drops, surgery and even laser treatment. For more information, speak with a professional who understands diabetic retinopathy