March 20, 2024

Did you know that about 1 in 3 adults1 over 40 who have diabetes also get diabetic retinopathy? It’s a big problem, and you might wonder if it can be fixed. Sadly, once you have it, it can’t be completely undone. But there’s still hope! You can slow down this eye problem by seeking care from your healthcare provider.

Understanding diabetic retinopathy: is it reversible?

When blood sugar levels are consistently high, it can cause eye problems called diabetic retinopathy. This high sugar can hurt the tiny blood vessels and nerves in the eye. Once the blood vessels are damaged, they can’t be fixed. That’s why diabetic retinopathy can’t be reversed.

Diabetic retinopathy has two main stages2:

  • Nonproliferative retinopathy: This is the early stage. In this part, the blood vessels in the back part of the eye start to swell and leak fluid. The nerve cells might also change because they’re not getting enough blood.
  • Proliferative retinopathy: This is the more serious stage. New, but not normal, blood vessels begin to grow on the back of the eye’s surface. When more of these unusual vessels appear, they can cause big vision problems and macular edema. This stage usually needs quick treatment from a doctor.
  • Macular edema: This happens when fluid collects in the back of the eye, causing swelling and vision to blur. If found early, there are treatments to lessen the swelling and help with the symptoms.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy: early detection matters

In the beginning, diabetic retinopathy3 often doesn’t show any clear signs. But as it gets worse, you might notice things like:

  • Trouble seeing things right in front of you
  • Lines that look like cobwebs
  • Blurry vision
  • Dark spots or floaters
  • Poor night vision

Sometimes, these eye problems appear and then disappear. But it’s important to go to a doctor for a check-up. If you don’t get it checked, these issues could lead to scar tissue in your eye, and you could lose your sight permanently.


Are you at risk for diabetic retinopathy?

If you have type 1, type 2, or diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), you could get diabetic retinopathy. Your chances of getting it4 go up if you have things like:

  • Diabetes for a long time
  • Blood sugar that’s not well-controlled
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Pregnancy
  • Tobacco use
  • Black, Hispanic, or Native American origin

Can diabetic retinopathy be reversed?

Even though diabetic retinopathy can’t be cured,5 finding it early, taking good care of your diabetes, and getting the right treatment quickly can slow it down and stop it from making you lose your eyesight. It’s important to have regular eye check-ups and to talk with your doctor. This way, they can help you care for your diabetic retinopathy best.

What you can do to slow down the progression

If you have diabetes, there are ways to help stop diabetic retinopathy6 from happening. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels steady.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get your eyes checked every year.
  • Keep your blood pressure at a good level.
  • Take your medicine just like your doctor says.

Treatment options: tailored to your needs

When it comes to treating diabetic retinopathy, everyone needs their own specific plan. Your doctor might suggest different ways to help you keep your eyes healthy. These could include:

  • Controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure: this is important to stop your vision from getting worse.
  • Special medicines: like ranibizumab, aflibercept, and bevacizumab. These can help slow down vision loss.
  • Laser surgery: this helps close leaky blood vessels and lower swelling in the back part of your eye.
  • Vitrectomy: in more serious cases, this surgery removes the gel-like substance and replaces it with another solution.
  • Regular eye check-ups: if you have diabetes, it’s crucial to check your eyes often.


Take control of diabetic retinopathy with Healthcare Associates of Texas

Even though diabetic retinopathy can’t be reversed, you can do a lot to slow it down and keep your eyes healthy. At Healthcare Associates of Texas, we provide personalized care to treat diabetic retinopathy and stop more problems from happening.

Diabetic retinopathy doesn’t have to control your life. By having regular eye exams and talking with our experts, you can stay on top of this condition. Our team is ready to help you. We offer complete care, including check-ups and treatments for diabetic retinopathy.



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Diabetic retinopathy [PDF]. Retrieved from
  2. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Diabetic retinopathy. Retrieved from
  3. National Eye Institute. (n.d.). Macular edema. Retrieved from
  4. National Eye Institute. (n.d.). Diabetic retinopathy. Retrieved from
  5. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Diabetic retinopathy: Symptoms & causes. Retrieved from

American Society of Retina Specialists. (n.d.). Diabetic retinopathy. Retrieved from

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