Diabetic Retinopathy

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

If you have diabetes mellitus, your body does not use and store sugar properly.  High blood-sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and helps to send images to the brain.  The damage to retinal vessels is referred to as diabetic retinopathy.

If you have diabetes, it is important to know that today, with improved methods of diagnosis and treatment, a smaller percentage of people who develop retinopathy have serious vision problems.  Early detection of diabetic retinopathy is the best protection against loss of vision.

You can significantly lower your risk of vision loss by maintaining strict control of your blood sugar and visiting your ophthalmologist regularly.

People with diabetes should schedule examinations at least once a year.  More frequent medical eye examinations may be necessary after a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy.


Normal Vision

The same view with diabetic retinopathy (National Eye Institute)