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Diabetic Retinopathy

Everyone with diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic eye disease. Most people consider sight to be their most precious sense so it is critical to be aware of the risk of diabetic eye disease and to understand how to prevent its onset. For those who already have diabetic eye disease, there are steps to take to reduce the risk of further vision loss.

Managing diabetes can be difficult. Living with diabetic retinopathy and the potential impact on vision can be challenging. However, most people with diabetic retinopathy should keep most, if not all vision, providing it is diagnosed early and all steps are taken to keep it under control.

Eye Testing

  • Important! When you see your eye care professional, make sure you explain that you have diabetes and how long you have had it.

  • If you have diabetes, visit an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) or an optometrist at least every two years for a comprehensive, dilated eye exam1.

  • People with diabetes at high risk, including indigenous people, need to have an eye check at least every 12 months, even if vision appears to be perfect1.

  • People with existing diabetic eye disease need to have an eye check every 12 months, even if vision appears to be perfect, or more frequently if disease is advanced1.

  • Be guided by the eye care professional, and do not cancel or delay appointments unless absolutely essential.

  • The longer you have had diabetes, the more important it is to have regular eye tests, even if the tests have always been clear in the past. This is because the risk of eye disease is strongly related to the duration of diabetes.

To order the Foundation's Diabetic Eye Disease publication call 1800 111 709, or read online here.