Your Eyes and Diabetes

What Causes Retinopathy?

Diabetes (high blood glucose levels) is a main cause of retinopathy. Other causes can be high blood fats and blood pressure; however people most at risk are those with diabetes.

What is Retinopathy?

The retina (seeing part of our eye) needs to be supplied with blood. Networks of blood vessels supply the retina with blood and if these become blocked or leaky, they damage the retina and prevent it from working properly. This causes retinopathy to happen. Usually, there aren’t very many symptoms until the retinopathy is quite advanced. This means that you may not be aware of it until your vision becomes damaged, so it is important to get your eyes checked regularly, especially if you suffer from diabetes. If retinopathy is left untreated, it may damage your vision.

Are You Likely To Develop Diabetic Retinopathy?

Type 1 Diabetes –

You are unlikely to develop retinopathy if you have had type 1 diabetes for less than 5 years. Although chances are low, the longer you have had type 1 diabetes, the more likely you are to develop retinopathy.

Type 2 Diabetes –

Studies show that 60% of people have a significant degree of retinopathy when diagnosed with it. This may be because some people have had diabetes for weeks or months before being diagnosed with it and were unaware of the problem.

Effect On Your Vision:

Retinopathy caused by diabetes can affect your vision quite severely.


Loss of central vision

Reducing Risk:

  • Have your eyes screened at least once a year.
  • Maintain a good blood glucose level.
  • Keep blood fat levels and blood pressure as close to normal levels as you can.
  • See your doctor/optician if you notice any changes in your vision.
  • Take your medicine as prescribed.

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