Young nurse doing a glucose blood test on her senior patient, during a home visit

You’ve probably heard about various effects of diabetes — hunger, fatigue, blood circulation dysfunction, and heart problems. Many people don’t know about Diabetes’ effects on the eyes, such as cataracts and glaucoma. The most common eye effect of Diabetes is Diabetic Retinopathy. Here’s an overview of the condition, and how to prevent it.

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

The retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye that translates light into images. By raising your blood sugar, diabetes can cause the blood vessels in the retina to swell, bleed or leak fluid into the gelatinous fluid that fills the eye, which is called vitreous. This contamination causes visual distortions like dark spots or streaks. It can even lead to blindness if not professionally treated.

Retinopathy Diagnosis

It’s important for anyone with diabetes to have regular eye exams. The examining doctor will look for all signs of diabetic retinopathy. This is done primarily by administering a comprehensive dilated eye exam, which involves dilating the pupils with special eye drops, which expose more of the eye for examination.

A secondary method of inspection is a fluorescein angiogram test, which can tell your doctor if you have diabetic retinopathy. It indicates if any of your blood vessels are damaged or leaking. A fluorescent dye is injected into a vein in your arm. When it reaches your eyes, the blood vessels in your retina can be examined.

These inspections are especially important for diabetic pregnant women, as pregnancy increases the risk of retinopathy. If you are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, it’s important to start treatment right away. This Can involve injections, laser treatments to shrink blood vessels, or eye surgery.

What Can I Do To Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy?

This condition can happen to you whether you have type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, and the risk increases with time. The best way to lower your risk is to manage your diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar levels, and do everything you can to keep them within a healthy range. This means eating well, getting exercise, taking your medication properly, and keeping in contact with your doctor. The risk of diabetic retinopathy is elevated by high blood pressure or high cholesterol, so have those levels checked often and ask your doctor how to keep them within safe ranges.

Since 1903, the Cheyenne Eye Clinic and Surgery Center has provided comprehensive eye care services to improve patients’ sight and enhance their lives—and we want to do the same for you. Whether you need a routine eye exam or cataract surgery. Whether you want a new pair of glasses or you need a contact lens fitting. Whether you’ve been a patient for decades or you just moved here. You’ll get the same personal care and attention from our board-certified doctors, experienced technicians and friendly staff. Everything we do is focused on you so you can focus on what matters.


Our Optical Department will close at 2:00 PM on November 20th to attend the memorial service for a dear friend and colleague. 

We apologize for the inconvenience.