Diabetic Retinopathy

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

  • Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the eye’s retina (the back part of the eye) that occurs with long-term diabetes.
  • Retina is part of the eye that one cannot afford to lose, because the damage, most of the time is permanent. Therefore, especially for diabetic patients, they must have their eyes checked by an eye specialist at least once a year.
  • If you see dark spots (floaters) or flashes of lights, you must have a comprehensive retina examination as it could be the early sign of retina break; which could lead to devastating retinal detachment.
  • People with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are at risk of this condition.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Caused?

  • Diabetic retinopathy results from the damage diabetes causes to the small blood vessels located in the retina.
  • These damaged blood vessels can cause vision loss: Fluid can leak into the macula, the area of the retina responsible for clear central vision.

Who is at Risk Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a problem linked to diabetes. Anyone with diabetes is at risk for diabetic retinopathy. Risk factors include:


  • Both younger and older people with diabetes are at risk for diabetic retinopathy.

Duration of the Disease

  • The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the chance of retinopathy.
  • Nearly all people with type 1 diabetes and more than 60% of people with type 2 diabetes have retinopathy in the first 20 years of living with the disease.

Blood Sugar Control

  • Poor blood sugar control is one of the main causes of diabetic retinopathy.


  • Smoking can give high risk for diabetic retinopathy.


  • Alcohol and diabetes are a dangerous combination for many reasons, including an increased risk of diabetic retinopathy.

What are the signs and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

  • Spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters)
  • Blurred vision.
  • Fluctuating vision.
  • Impaired colour vision.
  • Dark or empty areas in your vision.
  • Vision loss.

What kind of the treatment & benefit for Diabetic Retinopathy?

Treatment largely depends on the type of diabetic retinopathy and severity. Treatment goal is to slow down or stop the progression of the condition.

Types of treatment:

  • Laser
  • Surgery

How to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy?

  • Manage your diabetes.
  • Monitor your blood sugar level.
  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Be alert on your vision changes.

Kindly contact our Eye Specialist Centre if you wish to find out more about diabetic retinopathy or to consult any of our Ophthalmologist