Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults. It is caused by high blood sugar due to diabetes. Anyone with diabetes is at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy.
- Pregnant women with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
- Diabetes increases a person’s risk of developing other eye conditions:
- People with diabetes are 2 to 5 times more likely to develop cataracts.
- Having diabetes nearly doubles your risk of developing open-angle glaucoma.
- Controlling your diabetes lowers your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. This includes exercising, eating a healthy diet, and consistently taking your diabetes medication(s).
Get an eye exam immediately if you experience any of these symptoms, since they could indicate advanced-stage diabetic retinopathy:
- Blurry vision
- Spots or dark shapes in your vision (floaters)
- Trouble seeing colors
- Dark or empty areas in your vision
- Vision loss
In the advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy, your doctor may prescribe the following treatments:
- Anti-VEGF or corticosteroid injections
- Laser treatment
- Eye surgery
Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year if you have diabetes. You may not have symptoms, but an eye exam can detect diabetic retinopathy and prevent further damage to your eyes.