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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed with a dilated exam of the retina by an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist may wish to study the retinal blood vessels with photographs or by using a test called fluorescein angiography. During this test, a dye is injected into the arm and quickly travels throughout the blood system. Once the dye reaches the blood vessels of the retina, a photograph is taken of the eye. The dye allows the ophthalmologist to detect damaged blood vessels as they leak into the retina.

The best way to prevent diabetic retinopathy is through strict control of blood sugar and blood pressure. These measures significantly reduce the risk of long-term vision loss. With annual eye exams and prompt treatment of diabetic retinopathy, few people progress to serious vision loss.