Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina (the back part of your eye) as a result of diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy is a main cause of decreased vision or blindness in Americans ages 20 to 74 years. People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk for this condition.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

Most often, diabetic retinopathy has no symptoms until the damage to your eyes is severe. This is because damage to much of the retina can occur before your vision is affected.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Blurred vision and slowed vision loss over time
  • Floaters
  • Shadows or missing areas of vision
  • Trouble seeing at night

Because you may not have symptoms before severe damage has occurred, everyone with diabetes should have regular eye exams by an ophthalmologist.

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

Wake Forest Baptist Health Eye Center retina specialists collaborate with other physicians and dietitians at Wake Forest Baptist Health to ensure patients get complete care for their diabetes. We understand that the first step to healthy eyes is healthy living and nutrition.

Within the Eye Center, state-of-the-art laser devices provide patients with the latest surgical treatments. Our lasers can treat the effects of diabetic retinopathy more quickly and comfortably than conventional lasers.

But surgery isn’t the only option. As part of the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network, our retina specialists have access to the newest treatment innovations. For example, one treatment uses injections of proteins and antibodies to help reverse the effects of diabetic retinopathy. This intravitreal anti-VEGF therapy is more effective than conventional laser therapy in some patients.