Diabetic retinopathy is a condition caused by damages to the blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye called the retina. It causes bleeding inside the eye. As its name indicates, diabetic retinopathy can be caused as a side effect of diabetes.  Too much sugar in the blood can lead to blockage of the blood vessels that nourish the retina. As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels. These new vessels do not develop properly and can leas easily. Symptoms can range from blurry vision to blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy is a common disease that causes vision loss among diabetic adults in the United States.

  • Diabetes – The longer you have diabetes the greater is the risk to contract diabetes retinopathy.
  • Poor control of blood sugar level
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Pregnancy
  • Tobacco Use
  • Being African-American, Hispanic, or Native American


You may not have symptoms in the early stages. As the disease progress, you can experience, dark areas of vision, blurry vision, floaters, and impaired color vision. Blindness can happen. If you experience one of these symptoms you should consult your eye doctor.


Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed with a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Your eye doctor will place drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils and allow a better view inside your eyes.

During the exam, we will look for:

  • Abnormal blood vessels
  • Swelling, blood or fatty deposits in the retina
  • Growth of new blood vessels and scar tissue
  • Bleeding in the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye (vitreous)
  • Retinal detachment
  • Abnormalities in your optic nerve


One of the best ways to keep diabetic retinopathy away would is self-care. Working on managing to keep blood sugar in a normal range with diet, exercise, and meditation.

Your eye doctor can also prescribe medication such as VEGFR inhibitor to prevent the growth of abnormal blood vessels or steroids to reduce inflammation or for tissue growth repair.

If other techniques do not work, doctors can suggest surgery. Surgery can be done to remove the substance that fills inside the eye or to control bleeding and seal off blood vessels.