Diabetic Retinopathy

Frequently Asked Questions

19. What are some points to remember about diabetic retinopathy?

  1. If you have diabetes, get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.
  2. Proliferative retinopathy can develop without symptoms. If it gets to this advanced stage, you are at high risk for vision loss or even blindness.
  3. Macular edema can develop without symptoms at any of the four stages of diabetic retinopathy.
  4. You can develop both proliferative retinopathy and macular edema and still see fine. However, you are at high risk for vision loss.
  5. Your eye care professional can tell if you have macular edema or any stage of diabetic retinopathy. Whether or not you have symptoms, early detection and timely treatment can prevent vision loss.

(Watch the animation to learn more about what happens during a comprehensive dilated eye exam. To enlarge the video, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner. To reduce the video, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)

See this glossary for basic terms about diabetic retinopathy.