DiabetesDiabetic Retinopathy

Let's Talk About Diabetic Retinopathy

Get all the details on the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this diabetic eye disease, plus how to make life easier.

    Our Pro PanelDiabetic Retinopathy

    We went to some of the nation's top experts in diabetic retinopathy to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Michelle Liang, M.D.

    Michelle Liang, M.D.Ophthalmologist

    Tufts Medical Center
    Abdhish R. Bhavsar, M.D.

    Abdhish R. Bhavsar, M.D.Spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and President and Director of Clinical Research

    Retina Center of Minnesota
    Jennifer Sun, M.D.

    Jennifer Sun, M.D.Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

    Harvard Medical School
    Diabetic retinopathy statistics including DR as the leading cause of blindness, percentage of Americans with diabetes who have DR, Americans over 40 who have DR, number of Americans with DR expected to double by 2050, number of Americans living with DR
    Nikki Cagle
    Ways to prevent diabetic retinopathy include taking medication on time, checking blood sugar levels often, keeping A1C under 7%, avoiding cigarettes, exercise, omega-3 vitamins, and seeing an eye doctor regularly
    Nikki Cagle
    Common treatments for diabetic retinopathy include eye injections, focal laser, scattered laser, and virectomy
    Nikki Cagle

    Frequently Asked QuestionsDiabetic Retinopathy

    What causes diabetic retinopathy?

    Approximately 40% of all people with diabetes have at least mild diabetic retinopathy. In general, the longer one has had diabetes, the greater are one's chances of developing diabetic retinopathy. High blood pressure and high cholesterol in the blood are additional risk factors to keep in mind.

    Can you prevent diabetic retinopathy?

    The short answer is, yes! But, it’s going to take a lifetime of consistency. One of the best ways to prevent eye problems is to get your eyes screened regularly. For diabetics is also super important to keep insulin levels at a healthy level. This combination of regular eye appointments and insulin monitoring is the foundation for preventing diabetic retinopathy.

    What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

    According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetic retinopathy symptoms can affect both eyes and include:

    • vision that is blurred or fluctuating
    • impaired color recognition
    • dark or empty spaces in the vision
    • spots or dark strings floating in your vision (also known as floaters)
    • vision loss

    But don’t freak if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Just visit your eye doctor who will be able to confirm a diagnosis.

    Can diabetic retinopathy go away?

    While there's no known cure for diabetic retinopathy, retinal specialists can preserve and often restore vision loss from diabetic retinopathy through a variety of methods. These include injecting medication into the back of the eye, performing laser procedures and/or retinal surgery.

    Patty Onderko

    Patty Onderko

    Patty Onderko is a health and lifestyle writer and editor living in Brooklyn, NY.