Yes. Blood vessels damaged from diabetic retinopathy can cause vision loss.
Fragile, abnormal new blood vessels can cause bleeding, retinal detachment or glaucoma, all of which can affect vision.
Swelling of the macula and retina in DME can also result in blurred vision.
All diabetics are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Overall, about 30-40% of diabetics will develop DR, and about 5-10% will have more severe, vision-threatening disease. The risk of DR increases if diabetes is long-standing. After 20 years, most diabetics will develop this complication to some degree. Those who have poorly controlled diabetes are at higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy earlier, and at more severe stages.
People with diabetes should get an eye examination or screening at least once a year. If you have diabetic retinopathy, your ophthalmologist can recommend treatment to help prevent its progression.
Screening for diabetic retinopathy can be done either by eye examination by an ophthalmologist or eye-care provider, or by specialised retinal photography. In Singapore, retinal photography is a service provided at polyclinics and at some primary care facilities.
The Singapore integrated Diabetic Retinopathy Programme (SiDRP) uses telemedicine to enable fundus retinal photographs taken at the polyclinic or other primary care facilities to be transmitted electronically to specialist eye care centres for reading and diagnosis. This provides a safe, reliable and quality-assured DR screening programme for Singapore.
If there are any abnormalities in the photograph, or if the quality is insufficient for adequate assessment, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist for further assessment and management.