What is diabetic retinopathy and what different types are there?

Diabetes can cause blood vessels in the retina to become blocked, to leak or to grow incorrectly. The type of diabetic retinopathy you have depends on how badly your blood vessels are affected by diabetes. There are different types of retinopathy:

Background diabetic retinopathy

Background retinopathy does not usually affect your sight, but your eyes will need to be monitored carefully to make sure your retinopathy doesn’t become worse.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy

If background retinopathy gets worse, many of the retinal blood vessels become damaged or blocked. When these changes affect a large area of your retina, blood supply to the retina is reduced. The body tries to fix this by growing new blood vessels on the retinal surface or into the vitreous gel. Unfortunately, these new vessels are weak, and they bleed very easily, which may affect your vision.

Diabetic maculopathy and diabetic macular oedema

Diabetic maculopathy is when your macula is affected by retinopathy. If the blood vessels near the macula are leaky, fluid can build up at the macula and cause macular swelling. This is called diabetic macular oedema (DMO) and it can cause vision to be blurred and distorted, as well as making colours appear washed out.

Did this answer your question?

Related questions

Brought to you by