Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Give to Mayo ClinicHelp set a new world standard in care for people everywhere. Give now.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to our Controlling Your Diabetes e-newsletter to stay up to date on diabetes topics.
According to the American Diabetes Association, if you have diabetes, you're at an increased risk of eye complications. Most people with diabetes will get some form of retinopathy, a disorder of the retina. Diabetes-related eye complications are the leading cause of blindness in the United States.
But preventing diabetic retinopathy and other eye complications is possible. One 10-year study showed that keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible prevented development of or slowed the progression of diabetic eye disease by more than 75 percent. And improving blood glucose levels can help even if blood glucose hasn't been controlled in the past.
Understanding diabetic retinopathy
The retina is the light sensitive tissue in the back of your eye. It works like a camera, taking a "picture" and sending that information to the brain via the optic nerve. Over time, high blood glucose causes the blood vessels in the eye to weaken. Eventually, the blood vessels leak into the retina. At this stage, most people don't have any symptoms.
Continued high blood sugar will cause further damage to the retinas. New blood vessels will grow on the retina, but they'll be weak and break open more easily. This will cause leaking of blood into the middle part of the eye, affecting vision. Bleeding can also cause scar tissue to form and the retina to pull away from the wall of the eye. If that isn't bad enough, retinopathy can also lead to swelling of the macula (macular edema), further worsening vision.
Several factors influence whether or not a person gets retinopathy. These include blood sugar control, blood pressure control, how long you've had diabetes, and genetics.
Preventing diabetic retinopathy and other eye complications
To prevent or slow diabetic retinopathy and other eye complications:
Have a good week.
Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N.
Peggy Moreland, R.N.
Selecting "Submit" signifies that you have read and agree to our posting guidelines.
Playing music and making the vieewr read is stupid. Why aren't you appearing and talking etc? Fortunately most diabetics know not to waste their money on so-called natural cures because there are none. That term alone makes me think of Kevin Trudeau and most people know that he's a snake oil salesman/huckster/con man!
The folks at Betty Crocker have done it again: given us mere mortals great, easy reecips my whole family can enjoy. The best thing about this book is that the reecips aren't made from weird food you have to hunt for; they are made from items already in your kitchen. And they are reecips anyone can eat for good health. So, if one member of your family has diabetes, the whole family can eat this food and love it.The reecips are great, especially the desserts. And you thought you couldn't eat dessert with diabetes! The Carbohydrate Choices is a great counting device. I've never seen it in any other cookbook and I find it much easier to use than exchanges. Plus, it's not just a cookbook. There's doctor's advice and management plans inside. This book is very uplifting and practical.GET THIS BOOK! IT'S THE BEST DIABETES COOKBOOK, hands down.
The folks at Betty Crocker have done it again: given us mere mortals great, easy rpeecis my whole family can enjoy. The best thing about this book is that the rpeecis aren't made from weird food you have to hunt for; they are made from items already in your kitchen. And they are rpeecis anyone can eat for good health. So, if one member of your family has diabetes, the whole family can eat this food and love it.The rpeecis are great, especially the desserts. And you thought you couldn't eat dessert with diabetes! The Carbohydrate Choices is a great counting device. I've never seen it in any other cookbook and I find it much easier to use than exchanges. Plus, it's not just a cookbook. There's doctor's advice and management plans inside. This book is very uplifting and practical.GET THIS BOOK! IT'S THE BEST DIABETES COOKBOOK, hands down.
I did eat only fruit f one year, once, gave up on food, and ate only if invited to relatives homes, and did lose a lot of weight but got too low in weight and went back to food again, and now am over weight now, and have fat abdomen and and such, am about 40 pounds heavier over weight , now, and do not eat out much. \i am hating salt and fat, and love bread in a not too much eaten amount, |I hate white wheat foods and and use both kinds of insulin, and walk for exercise wisely, in sunlight, sore joints and burning feet that curl under in spasms , magnesium and b complex vit, for that helps, but now feet are even m ore of a problem, I minimally use feet, now, using dry brush and creams and but have to go eat , in sugar low, now... less weight gives better sugar control, and but food is a problem as it gives more sugar control problems.. diabetic means not so much food for you, and eating just fruit and vegetables is key ... just to fill tummy of hunger is best but not full range of foods... but taking vitamins is needed. Exercise and water is needed. I use milk and of low fat , and molasses instead of sugar in pure state for low sugar times. or fruit juice in real nature of no sugar added kinds. Or just oranges, ...and a few pieces of bread in grain bread kind. Lack of foods and Dr, helps in real kinds , out here..
We are from California, and now live in Egypt for 15 years, now, I am 62, and but there are a lot of scary so called doctors, out here, and driving far is dangerous , and so I do not see drs. and do not use blood monitoring equipment, as it is up and down and dysfunctional and is laboring to use all days and nights and is expensive to use.... it drives me mad.. We are going back to America to stay, now, soon. My feet are a problem and eye is acting up in vision but Doc says my eye is alright... and but feet respond to magnesium, and B complex vit. I am moody and have Menopause, and a long visit of that, I walk for 30 min. a day if I am not too tired to do so, and am depressed a lot, but love Rescue remedy a lot... or had it only once... but intend to use it a the Drs. here are crazy and not to be trusted... they over dose you in insulin and or say another line in less insulin.. I stay away from sugar and honey and dates, I get less sleep as grandchild and cat are my problems , and sleep in wrong bed, as house is full of people, and but are leaving, love ear plugs of wax, and and eye masks, Sore joints and burning feet, and awake to fix food and insulin to control foot pain. And to control joint pain... insulin high , right now..
My daughter 25 has had type 1 diabetes for14 years. She has retinaoipathy & is receiving laser teratment on a regulare basis. Does the Mayo Clinic have any new treatment to help with this devastating conditrion. Thankyou, from Canada
I appreciate the clarity of this post, it is also depressing. Is retinopathy inevitable?
I work hard to manage my diabetes and to limit incidence of high blood sugar, but am I just going to end up with complications?
This raises the question of what defines "safe" bgl numbers. Some people in the diabetes blogosphere question the ADA guidelines and assert that damage stops at 155 under and preferrably 140 or under. Maybe this is a topic for a future post?
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Proceeds from website advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse non-Mayo products and services.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.