Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication resulting from diabetes, where high blood sugar levels damage the back of the eye (retina). It can be treated using laser eye surgery or a vitrectomy. This procedure uses a tiny incision in the eye to remove blood from the middle of the eye (vitreous) and scar tissue that may be tugging on the retina.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a potential complication of diabetes complication that affects the eyes, caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). This can occur as a result of high blood sugar levels. Initially, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, however, and if left untreated, it can cause blindness.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Some symptoms indicative of diabetic retinopathy may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Impaired colour vision
  • Dark or empty areas in your vision
  • Vision loss
  • Spots or dark strings in your vision

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?

Commonly, patients will be advised to effectively manage their diabetes, which will be the underlying cause of this condition. However, in cases where this condition becomes more advanced and which may therefore be affecting the patient’s sight and vision, there are some treatment options which include:

  • Laser Eye Treatment: This treatment is designed to address the growth of new blood vessels at the back of the eye, around the retina in cases where relevant symptoms present themselves
  • Eye Injections: Injections in the eye are typically required where severe maculopathy is present, which will otherwise affect the patient’s eye
  • Eye Surgery: Often the last resort, as this is a form of surgery that will come with potential risks and complications as all forms of surgery do. Eye surgery in these cases will be aimed at removing scar tissue or blood from the eye. This is often required in cases where retinopathy of the eye is too advanced for laser surgery.

How Much Does Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Cost in the UK?

  1. Diabetic retinopathy and its required treatment will depend on the precise nature and condition of the patient in question’s eye or eyes and their general health. Performed privately in the UK, diabetic retinopathy treatment will start from around £400 – £1,000 per eye, but may be more depending on precisely what is required. 
  2. The NHS will only routinely treat this condition in an advanced stage.
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