Since symptoms during the early stages of diabetic retinopathy may be absent or subtle, everyone with diabetes should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination at least once a year. Of course, any flecks, spots, or blurs in your visual field should prompt an immediate visit to your vision care provider. Symptoms may not be noticeable but can including the following:

  • Blurry vision
  • Halos or flashing lights
  • Double vision
  • Dark spots or floaters
  • Pain or a sensation of pressure
  • Diminished peripheral (side) vision
  • Poor night vision

Simulation of Diabetic Retinopathy.  A street scene with an approximation of what somebody with Diabetic Retinopathy sees compared to normal vision

Early signs of diabetic retinopathy include leaking blood vessels, swelling (edema), fatty deposits, and damaged nerve tissue. But only your vision care specialist can diagnose those signs. Your eye doctor will use several tests to determine whether you have diabetic retinopathy and, if so, how to proceed based on the stage of the disease. See Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy for detailed information.



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