Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes. In some cases, the blood vessels of the retina may become blocked or swell and leak fluid. In other cases, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina’s surface. Those in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy may not notice any changes to their vision, though an exam may detect it. Over time, however, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and cause moderate to severe vision loss.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy and should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam annually. If diabetic retinopathy has been diagnosed, treatment options can help prevent the disease’s progression. Also, controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol can help mitigate the progression of the disease.
As may be advised, and depending on the type and severity of the condition, treatments may include laser injected medications or other surgery treatments. In some cases, laser surgery and appropriate post–surgical care can reduce the risk of blindness up to 90 percent. But since lost vision often cannot be totally restored with laser surgery, early detection of diabetic retinopathy is the best prevention.