Diabetic Retinopathy Causes

Testing Blood Pressure - Closeup

Diabetic retinopathy causes can vary and after many years of being Diabetic the damaging effects of the disease, despite good control, may affect you. Factors that can increase the likelihood of damaging effects on the eyes include the following:

  • High blood glucose. Constantly raised blood glucose levels are damaging for the body and can affect the circulation to all parts of the body including the heart, organs and skin.
In the eye varying blood glucose levels can adversely affect the lens in the eye and focussing as well as progressively damage the circulation and retina.
Ask your doctor what your “long term glucose control” (also called HbA1C)test shows.
  • Smoking. The best thing any diabetic who smokes can do to help their overall health is to stop as soon as possible. Smoking has been shown to increase the damaging effects of diabetes quite significantly. Stopping will be beneficial no matter how long you have been a smoker.
  • Blood pressure. Diabetics also commonly have high blood pressure. Uncontrolled blood pressure can increase the damaging effects of diabetes. Some of the damaging effects of diabetes on the eye can be reduced with good consistent blood pressure control.
  • High cholesterol. Many studies have shown an added benefit for diabetics in having lower levels and the right balance of cholesterol in their blood. This test may have been done in your diabetic clinic and you may have received dietary advice or medication.
  • Pregnancy. It is especially important to have your eyes checked if you are diabetic and become pregnant. In patients with pre-existing diabetic retinopathy, there can be worsening of the disease during pregnancy.
More information on diabetic retinopathy is available:
Appointment times can be worked flexibly around your needs and may be accommodated on evenings and weekends.
You can also be seen at a private hospital close and convenient for you.


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