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Diabetic Retinopathy

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What is Diabetic Retinapathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults in North America. It occurs when diabetes damages tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye that nourish the retina.

Sometimes, in the early stages of the disease, no noticeable changes to vision occur. But sometimes vision can become affected as leaking fluid causes swelling in the central part of the retina, called the macula.

In later stages of the disease, blood vessels can grow on top of the retina. These can leak or do other damage to the retina and cause serious vision loss.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms can include:

  • Blurred central vision
  • Straight lines appearing curved, or other visual distortions
  • Spots in central vision
  • Floaters

It’s vital for people with diabetes to get an annual dilated eye exam. When properly diagnosed and treated, diabetic retinopathy rarely leads to severe vision loss.

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UR Medicine's Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy

UR Medicine’s Flaum Eye Institute works hand-in-hand with UR Medicine Primary Care and other specialties to minimize damage to the eyes caused by diabetes. Treatment may be as simple as keeping blood sugars in balance.

To treat diabetic retinopathy, our retina specialists might use:

  • Special medicines to reduce swelling or stop retinal bleeding
  • Laser surgery to seal leaking blood vessels
  • Other surgery to save or restore vision in advanced cases of the disease

What Sets Us Apart?

Flaum Eye Institute is a leading research center for diabetic eye disease. This includes our development of specialized imaging techniques that are uncovering how the disease progresses and allows researchers to test new medicines that might be helpful in treating it.


Our care team is here for you. Find a UR Medicine expert and get care now.

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