Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes. It can develop in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and usually affects both eyes. People with retinopathy have damaged blood vessels in their retina – the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eyes.
Diabetic retinopathy develops slowly over many years, so regular eye checks are important if you have diabetes. Keeping good control of your blood sugar levels can help prevent retinopathy or slow down its progression. But if you do develop retinopathy, there are treatments available to help improve your vision.
Who is at risk of Diabetic Retinopathy?
The risk of retinopathy increases the longer you’ve had diabetes. In fact, almost all people with diabetes develop some degree of retinopathy eventually.
Other factors that further increase your risk include:
- having had diabetes for longer than 10 years.
- poorly controlled diabetes.
- having high blood pressure.
- high cholesterol levels.
- having a family history of severe diabetic retinopathy.
- also having diabetic kidney disease.