Diabetic Retinopathy

How does diabetes affect the eye?

The eye is one of many organs which can be affected by diabetes. The most common result is earlier onset of cataracts.

A more serious condition is diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when the retina (the nervous layer at the back of the eye) is affected. This is a sight threatening condition. New blood vessels grow on the retina, as a result of diabetes, and these can lead to retinal detachment or leakage in the macula.

How is diabetic eye disease treated?

This depends on the duration and severity of the disease. If detected early, diabetic retinopathy can be treated with LASER in the consultation room or with consecutive Intra Ocular Anti VEGF injections. If more advanced, surgery must be performed on the retina, also combined with LASER treatment.

This must be performed by a specially trained vitreoretinal surgeon and is routinely done at the eye hospital at the Garden Route Eye Clinic.

If I have diabetes, do I need to see an eye specialist even if I have good vision?

Yes. Because early detection of diabetic eye disease is of utmost importance, everyone who has diabetes must see an eye specialist at least every year. This is because you may not be aware of any symptoms when the disease starts.

During this visit your pupils will usually be dilated to enable the ophthalmologist to see your entire retina. For this reason, someone must drive you to the appointment, as driving is not permitted after the pupils are dilated for the rest of the day.


At Garden Route Eye Clinic,
we believe in integrity and compassionate care.