Living With Diabetic Retinopathy

Meet Marcos, who explains his experience with anti-VEGF injections for DR

It is possible to have diabetic retinopathy for a long time without noticing symptoms until significant damage has occurred. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may occur in one or both eyes and include1-3:

An important part of maintaining eye health in diabetes includes a regular comprehensive eye exam, which should be performed as recommended by an eye care professional and outlined in the following Table. An ophthalmologist or optometrist who is knowledgeable and experienced in diagnosing diabetic retinopathy should perform the examinations.1-3

Regular dilated eye exams in patients with diabetes help identify and prevent diabetic eye disease from progressing to the level of sight-threatening retinopathy.6

The best way to detect diabetic retinopathy is through a dialed eye exam, in which medicated drops allow the pupil to open wider for a better view inside the eye.6 Suspicion for retinopathy may be increased when high-risk features for retinopathy are present, including a high hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c], long history of diabetes, type 1 diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, untreated sleep apnea, clinical depression, and presence of other diabetes complications.6

Eye care professionals who can perform dilated eye exams include optometrists and ophthalmologists; however, if retinopathy is present, prompt referral to an ophthalmologist, and when more severe retinopathy is present, a retina specialist is recommended.5, 6 Comprehensive evaluation includes a dilated eye exam and possible imaging of the layers of the retina and its blood vessels with optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fluorescein angiography (FA), helping detect fluid leakage and vessel damage.1

Color photography of the back of the eye can also be used to detect retinopathy; however, in-person exams are still necessary to detect and monitor for worsening of retinopathy that may require treatment before vision loss begins.1, 5, 6

If you are looking for more information on the symptoms and treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy, check out our other Retinal Disease resources.



Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top

Scientific Council

Neil M. Bressler, MD

James P. Gills Professor of Ophthalmology
Professor of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Baltimore, MD

A. Paul Chous, MA, OD, FAAO

Specializing in Diabetes Eye Care & Education, Chous Eye Care Associates
Adjunct Professor of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences
AOA Representative, National Diabetes Education Program
Tacoma, WA

Steven Ferrucci, OD, FAAO

Chief of Optometry, Sepulveda VA Medical Center
Professor, Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Sepulveda, CA

Julia A. Haller, MD

Wills Eye Hospital
Philadelphia, PA

Allen C. Ho, MD, FACS

Director, Retina Research
Wills Eye Hospital
Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology
Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals
Philadelphia, PA

Charles C. Wykoff, MD, PhD

Director of Research, Retina Consultants of Houston
Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology
Blanton Eye Institute & Houston Methodist Hospital
Houston, TX

Patient & Caregiver Educational Resources

The RELIEF Patient Toolkit is a resource center for patients who have been diagnosed with or who are interested in learning about diabetic retinopathy (DR). Choose from the options below to learn more.

This activity for Diabetic Retinopathy education is provided by Med Learning Group.
This activity is supported by an independent medical education grant from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Copyright © 2019 | Diabetic Retinopathy | All Rights Reserved | Website by Divigner