What Is The First Sign Of Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is the result of increased blood sugar levels. Diabetic patients suffer from this eye condition. However, it is difficult to sense its presence in its initial stages, because it does not show any symptoms. The patient experiences the changes in vision only when they reach the final stage of the retinopathy – proliferative retinopathy where the chances of losing vision are high.

What Is The First Sign Of Diabetic Retinopathy?

As stated above, it is difficult to speak about the first sign of the diabetic retinopathy. Ophthalmologists divided the symptoms into the three categories – mild, moderate, and severe. As diabetic retinopathy is prevalent in people who have diabetes, it is essential to undergo the eye screening examination. The examination will display the status of the diabetic retinopathy. People suffering from type I and type II diabetes suffer from mild to moderate symptoms. If unattended, the symptoms progress into the severe category, where the chance for blindness is high.


  • Increased eye floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Vision loss
  • Empty areas in the vision
  • Fluctuating vision.

Seeing an Ophthalmologist

Upon detecting the presence of diabetes and its type, it is essential to pay a visit to an ophthalmologist. The specialist will carry out the eye examination to inspect the condition of the eyes. The dilation examination will offer clear output about the presence of diabetic retinopathy.

Types of Retinopathy

Noticing the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy is difficult in initial stages. The only method by which one can identify its presence is through undergoing initial eye examination. However, over a period with an increase in blood sugar levels, the symptoms turn from mild to severe posing a threat to vision. The two types are:

Early Diabetic Retinopathy: The early diabetic retinopathy, also termed as non-proliferative retinopathy is a condition where there is no production of new blood vessels. However, the walls of the blood vessels in the retina weaken. Due to this, microaneurysms occur. Over a period, when there is no control in sugar levels, these aneurysms break free and cause blood leakage. Larger vessels dilate and grow irregularly in diameter. Additionally, the patients experience swelling of the macula, which requires immediate treatment to prevent blindness.

Advanced Diabetic Retinopathy: In the advanced state of diabetic retinopathy, also termed as proliferative retinopathy, the tiny blood vessels break free and die, providing a way for the growth of new blood vessels. They grow abnormally and are weak. The situation leads to scarring, which displaces the retina. Furthermore, accumulation of the blood fills the macula leading to vitreous hemorrhage.


Diabetic patients develop diabetic retinopathy. The risk increases because of the following:

  • Duration of the diabetes
  • Irregular controlling of sugar levels
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Increase in cholesterol levels
  • Pregnancy
  • Use of tobacco products.

Preventing the Growth

Preventing the growth of the diabetic retinopathy is possible with little changes to the lifestyle and eating habits. Additionally, speaking with the specialist who manages diabetes adds to the profit. Diabetic people benefit from the following actions:

  • Managing diabetes is the first step in preventing the growth of diabetic retinopathy. Adding exercises is a great way to control blood pressure and sugar levels. Taking medications on time further helps in the management procedure.
  • One needs to check and note down the blood sugar level readings frequently in a single day. The frequency increases in case of stress. The values provide a detailed observation about the varying values of the blood sugar levels.
  • Stop using tobacco products and pay attention to the changes in vision.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 28, 2018

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