Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of diabetes. People with diabetes are at risk for diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma.
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease in America. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina.
People with diabetic retinopathy may not notice changes to their vision at first. But over time, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and cause vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.
A comprehensive dilated eye exam allows the doctor to check the retina for changes to blood vessels, swelling of the macula (DME), and damage to nerve tissue, among others.
Early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent. People with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year and those with diabetic retinopathy may need eye exams more frequently. Women with diabetes who become pregnant should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam as soon as possible.
Source: National Eye Institute (NEI)