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What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy is caused by complications arising from diabetes. It damages blood vessels that nourish the retina at the back of the eye. This progressively results in blurred vision.


Severe vision loss may be preventable if the Diabetic Retinopathy is detected and treated early and appropriately. Treatment may maintain vision, though it rarely restores it.

People with diabetes also have an increased risk of acquiring other vision conditions, such as glaucoma or cataracts. Regular eye examinations are essential to detect these vision conditions.

Functional implications of Diabetic Retinopathy include:

  • Having difficulty with fine details (for example, when reading or watching television).
  • Having difficulty with outdoor travel.
  • Experiencing visual fluctuations from hour to hour or day to day.
  • Seeing images as rippled (for example, straight lines appear bent).
  • Experiencing blurred, hazy or double vision.
  • Losing some field of vision.
  • Having difficulty seeing at night or in low light.
  • Being particularly sensitive to glare and light.
  • Having difficulty focusing.

For further information on diabetes, visit Diabetes Australia or Optometrists Association Australia.

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