What can I do to prevent diabetic retinopathy?

Jeffrey S. Heier, MD
Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy -- an eye disease caused by damage to blood vessels of the retina (the innermost layer of the eye) -- has no early warning signs. The best way to protect yourself is to understand your risk and receive vision testing as necessary. Anyone with diabetes -- either type 1 or type 2 -- should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.

Comprehensive eye exams can detect macular edema and diabetic retinopathy in the earliest stages. If the problem is treated quickly enough, it is possible to prevent severe vision loss and blindness. A regular eye exam includes various procedures to detect early problems: a vision acuity test to identify problems with vision, tonometry, a glaucoma screening test, to measure pressure inside the eye, and a dilated eye exam to reveal damage to the retina and optic nerve. Ocular imaging, both with and without dye, may also be necessary.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.