Diabetes Home > Diabetic Eye Disease

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Often, there are no symptoms in the early stages of this diabetic eye disease. Vision may not change until the disease becomes severe, nor is there any pain. Blurred vision may occur when the macula -- the part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision -- swells from the leaking fluid. This condition is called macular edema.
If new blood vessels have grown on the surface of the retina, they can bleed into the eye, blocking vision. Even in more advanced cases, the disease may progress a long way without any noticeable symptoms, so regular eye examinations for people with diabetes are important.
Treatment Options
There are a number of treatment options for diabetic retinopathy. Your eye doctor may suggest laser treatment, which involves a light beam aimed into the retina of the damaged eye. The beam closes off leaking blood vessels, which may stop blood and fluid from leaking into the vitreous and slow down the loss of sight.
If a lot of blood has leaked into your vitreous and your sight is poor, your eye doctor might suggest you have surgery called a vitrectomy. This procedure removes blood and fluids from the vitreous of your eye. Then, clean fluid is put back into the eye. The surgery often makes your eyesight better.
(Click Diabetic Retinopathy for more information about this treatment option.)


The lens focuses light onto the retina. A cataract makes everything you look at seem cloudy, and surgery is needed to remove it. During surgery, your lens is taken out and a plastic lens -- like a contact lens -- is put in. The plastic lens stays in your eye all the time. Cataract surgery helps you see clearly again.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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