Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes and Blindness

What causes diabetic retinopathy and blindness? Is the cause of retinopathy our diabetes? What about diabetic retinopathy treatment?

My doctor suggested that I should have an eye exam to see if I had eye damage from my diabetes. When I did, the results scared me. Without much tact, the eye doctor informed me that I had eye damage and also cataracts. I thought cataracts were only for old people.

The good news was that with proper blood sugar control these conditions might improve. I wanted to make sure they did improve.

This bad news only made me more resolved to work hard on improving my condition. Diabetic blindness was one complication I wanted to avoid. Fortunately, every exam found my eyes improving from that first exam. This was accomplished by using many of the methods I describe in this site.

What is diabetic retinopathy? It is the damage, leaking and scarring of our eyes from the excess insulin in our blood streams due to diabetes. Over time the damage will cause our retina to swell and possibly lead to partial or full vision loss.

The cause of retinopathy is our diabetes. Diabetes and it’s excess insulin, damages the small blood vessels in our body including those in our eyes. High blood pressure only makes the problem worse. Sometimes these vessels burst and leak in the eye. There is scar tissue formed which can pull against the retina. This can cause vision loss.

Generally, there may be no symptoms of retinopathy.

Possible Symptoms are:

• Blurred or Distorted Vision

• Floaters in your vision

• Partial or full vision loss

• Eye Pain


Your risk of developing retinopathy will be increased the longer you have been diabetic. If you have done a poor job of controlling your blood sugars and requiring more insulin then your risk is greater. Those with high blood pressure are also at increased risk. Smokers usually have higher blood pressure so smoking increases your risks.

Your Defense

Your best defense against diabetic blindness is to get an eye exam as soon as you realize your are diabetic. The longer you wait the more damage can be done. This exam will give you a reading of where you are at. Next, get your blood sugars under control quickly with a diet change and regular exercise.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

Laser surgery can be performed if the damage is caught soon enough.

Retinopathy is not curable, but with proper diabetes management the damage can be controlled.

This is a general overview of retinopathy. For more specific information check with a qualified ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

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