Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. It occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the cells at the back of the eye, known as the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye. It converts light into electrical signals. The signals are sent to the brain through the optic nerve and the brain interprets them to produce the images that you see. For this to work, the retina requires a constant blood supply which it receives through tiny blood vessels. These blood vessels can become damaged over time in diabetics and become less efficient in transporting blood.

Retinopathy is not immediately noticeable in its early stages. It is only obvious to the sufferer in its later stages when eye sight is affected.

If you have diabetes and start to notice problems with your vision, contact your GP immediately.

Treatment for retinopathy will depend on the stage the condition has reached. If identified in its early stages, it may be possible to treat it by controlling your diabetes more effectively. If you have more advanced retinopathy, you may need to have surgery to prevent further damage to your eyes.