Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic Eye Disease

People with diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar levels change the blood vessels in the retina, causing the blood flow to reduce which lowers the amount of oxygen the retina can get.

Diabetic Eye Disease

The retina makes a chemical called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to try and help itself. High levels of VEGF cause the normal retinal blood vessels in the centre of the retina (the macula) to swell and leak.  This is called diabetic macular oedema (DMO). The VEGF can also cause abnormal new blood vessels to grow on the retina which is called proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Both of these changes can result in reduced vision which may be permanent.

Good blood sugar control is vital

Controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure can stop vision loss. Carefully follow the diet your diabetes doctor or the diabetes team looking after you has recommended. Take the medicine your diabetes doctor prescribed for you. Sometimes, good sugar control can even bring some of your vision back. Controlling your blood pressure keeps your eye’s blood vessels healthy.


The first line of treatment for diabetic macular oedema is to reduce the VEGF levels in the eye with anti-VEGF medicines injected into the eye. The medicine can help reduce the swelling of the macula (the central part of the retina) but the treatment is often required to be repeated over a long period of time.

Anti-VEGF injections can also be used to treat proliferative diabetic retinopathy but they are not usually the first line of treatment.

Other eye care services.

Age–related macular degeneration (AMD)

A chronic, degenerative condition affecting central vision.


A cataract is when your eye’s natural lens core becomes cloudy. This happens as we get older as the natural proteins.


Glaucoma is a disease of the eye where eye pressure is too high, causing damage to your eye’s optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye

Vitreo-retinal surgery

Vitreo-Retinal eye surgery refers to a group of advanced, highly delicate procedures that are done deep inside the eye’s.

General ophthalmology

Light passes through the cornea and lens of each eye.  The cornea and lens focus light on to the back of the eye.

Diabetic eye disease

People with diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar levels change the blood vessels.

Retinal vein occlusion

Arteries and veins carry blood throughout your body, including your eyes.


The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped tissue on the front of your eye that forms the front of the anterior chamber of the eye.

Paediatric ophthalmology

At our specialist paediatric clinic, we work with children in a fun way. This can make eye tests and treatments.