Diabetic retinopathy can progress for years without noticeable visual impairment. In fact, the progression of the condition is basically asymptomatic. But whether or not a patient exhibits symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, early and regular retinal risk assessments — along with timely treatment — can ultimately prevent vision loss.
All patients with diabetes — both type 1 and type 2 — are at risk. That’s why everyone with diabetes should get a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. In fact, the longer someone has diabetes, the more likely that person will get diabetic retinopathy. Between 40 to 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.
In addition, those patients with diabetic retinopathy may need an eye exam more often. A person with proliferative retinopathy can reduce their risk of blindness by 95 percent with timely treatment and appropriate follow-up care.