Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition that occurs when your blood sugar levels are frequently too high. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels degrade the blood vessels in your retina and can cause them to swell and leak. The retina is located at the back of the eye and plays a key role in the processing of images. Light enters your eye through the iris and reaches your retina at the correct angle for clear vision. The retina receives this light and transmits it to your brain where it is further processed into the final images you see. When you have diabetic retinopathy and the retina is damaged, the way light signals are translated and processed is altered, and this can cause you to experience a number of changes to your vision. Read to learn more about the symptoms caused by diabetic retinopathy.

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is a common early symptom of diabetic retinopathy. It can occur intermittently or become a symptom that is consistently present. Blurred vision can leave you feeling vulnerable, and you may struggle to manage daily tasks, such as reading labels. Blurred vision that's caused by diabetic retinopathy does not tend to occur alongside a headache, but it can leave you feeling nauseous.

Floaters And Flashes

Floaters and flashes are a type of visual disturbance characterised by the presence of lines, dots or flashes of light in your peripheral vision. They tend to appear intermittently and are due to changes in the structure of the retina. Floaters and flashes don't tend to compromise your sight, but they can be distracting, particularly when carrying out tasks that require clear vision, such as driving or cooking.

Light Sensitivity

If you have type 2 diabetes and notice your eyes are becoming increasingly sensitive to light, this could be indicative of diabetic retinopathy. Damage to the retina can impact on how the retina copes with exposure to bright light, so you may notice that putting lights on in your home feels uncomfortable or that your eyes tighten and feel strained when you move from a dull area to a bright area.

Reduced Night Vision

A healthy retina can process images effectively even when the light entering the eye is very dull, such as in the period just after the sun sets. This allows you to be able to see, to some degree, when it's dark. However, a retina that's damaged as a result of high concentrations of glucose in the blood will struggle to process duller images, which can make driving at night a hazard.

Damage that's already occurred to your eyes due to diabetic retinopathy cannot be undone, but laser therapy can be used to prevent further damage to your vision. This treatment works by sealing blood vessels that are leaking but still functional and destroying those that are too damaged to be repaired. Further information on diabetic retinopathy is available from your optometrist or eye doctor.