Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy, also known as diabetic eye disease, is a systemic disease. 

The Causes
Many diabetics – particularly those with poor diabetic control which results in too-high blood sugar levels over long periods of time – have damaged blood vessels in the retina, the tissue lining the back of the eye that detects light and allows us to see.

Types of Diabetic Retinopathy
Many people with mild diabetic retinopathy have good vision, but there are two types of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy.
  • proliferative retinopathy
The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. A healthy retina is necessary for good vision. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, the fragile, abnormal blood vessels can develop and leak blood into the center of the eye, blurring vision. This is proliferative retinopathy.
  • macular edema 
In other people, fluid can leak into the center of the macula, the part of the eye where sharp, straight-ahead vision occurs. The fluid makes the macula swell, blurring vision. This condition is called macular edema. 
Treatments & Suggestions
People with diabetic retinopathy may not notice changes to vision at first. But over time, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and cause vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes. Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, nor is there any pain. Therefore regular eye checks are essential for all diabetics, signs of diabetic retinopathy can be detected as early as possible. If you diabetic and experience blurred vision, you should visit an eye specialist immediately.

If you develop macular edema, you might require laser photocoagulation, which involves placing tiny laser burns in the area of leakage in the retina which slow the leakage of fluid and reduce the fluid in the eye. This may not significantly improve vision for some patients – although it can stop your vision from getting worse. Other treatments are available and have been shown to benefit patients with macular edema, including injections of anti-VEGF drugs. Ask your specialist if these treatments are suitable for you or available to you.