The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 28 percent of diabetics have or will develop diabetic retinopathy, but many fail to have yearly eye examinations due to a lack of clear symptoms. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of diabetes-related vision loss in people ages 24-70 in the United States, but in its early stages, it often does not cause any noticeable symptoms. Symptoms tend to only manifest when irreversible vision complications have already occurred.

It is important to know the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, but equally important that you visit California Retina Associates every year for early detection of this condition. Even when asymptomatic, diabetic retinopathy treatment can be used to help guard against vision loss. Our San Diego retina specialists can help carefully manage the disease and preserve the precious gift of sight. Know that the longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

As diabetic retinopathy progresses, symptoms can include any of the following:

  • Double vision
  • Eye pain, pressure or redness
  • Vision fluctuations
  • Flashes, floaters and spots in the visual field
  • Blind spots in the central field of vision that can make reading or driving difficult
  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Corneal abrasions
  • Nearsightedness not related to presbyopia
  • Cataracts
  • Difficulty seeing at night

Usually, these symptoms affect both eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms, call our San Diego diabetic retinopathy team right away to schedule a screening for diabetic retinopathy. During the evaluation, we will dilate your pupils so we can get a close look at the back of your eyes and rule out any problems.

Pregnancy can worsen diabetic retinopathy, so it’s important for expecting mothers with diabetes to work with their primary eye doctor or our team during pregnancy. Additional eye exams may be recommended to closely monitor the health of the eyes and any subtle visual changes.

Complications of Diabetic Retinopathy

In addition, diabetic retinopathy may lead to complications such as:

  • Vitreous hemorrhage – When new, abnormal blood vessels grow, they may bleed into the vitreous. Symptoms of this condition may include dark spots and floaters.
  • Retinal detachment – When abnormal blood vessels stimulate the growth of scar tissue the retina may be pulled away from the back of the eye. Symptoms of this condition may include spots, floaters, flashers, and complete vision loss.
  • Glaucoma – New blood vessels growing in the front part of your eye may interfere with the normal flow of fluid, building pressure and damaging the optic nerve. Symptoms of glaucoma may include eye pain, colored rings around lights, and a sudden onset of vision disturbances.

The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy and those of its complications are often very similar. The best way to prevent these symptoms from occurring is through the early detection and prompt treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

Are You Experiencing Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

For more information about the detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy, please call (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755, or contact California Retina Associates online to schedule an appointment at one of our San Diego locations.