advanced ophthalmology

What is diabetic retinopathy?

It is the most prevalent vascular disorder of the retina and is caused by a weakening of the blood vessels due to diabetic metabolic decompensation. The weakened blood vessels that supply the retina are particularly susceptible, and the deterioration of these, along with the structural changes that this causes to the retina, leads to vision loss.

What are the symptoms?

Initially, there are no symptoms, pain or vision loss. For that reason, patients often do not realise the damage until it has become severe, which is why regular eye examinations are important in patients with diabetes.


Symptoms of advanced diabetic retinopathy:

  • Progressive vision loss.
  • Shapes or “floaters” in the field of vision.
  • Shadows or areas of vision loss.
  • Difficulty with night vision.


People with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar and blood pressure levels closely. High levels of either of these will stimulate a deterioration of the blood vessels and, as a result, diabetic retinopathy. As well as these, other factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and smoking accelerate the advance of the disease. Regular retinal check-ups are vital for early detection and treatment of this disease, preventing severe damage to the retina and acute vision loss.


A test called fluorescein angiography is used for diagnosis. It involves taking a picture of the retina by injecting a contrast agent. This allows us to clearly see the state of the retina, to classify the disease and assess treatment.


Retinopathy can affect the macula (central part of the retina, responsible for detailed vision) and the area around it. Depending on the part of the retina that is affected and the severity of the damage caused by the disease, the following treatment options are available:


At CLÍNICA RAHHAL, we have state-of-the-art technological equipment which, combined with our teamwork, ensures the best results.

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“I have been going to Rahhal for many years with my entire family because of the quality of the service and the family-friendly atmosphere that the whole team provides”.

Álvaro Lluch. 

“Besides his professionalism, you can see that Dr Rahhal enjoys his work and is happy doing it. I went to him for an initial consultation and have never thought about going to another clinic. I am truly delighted”.


“I have been a patient for some time and I am delighted with them. The staff are attentive and very professional, not to mention the excellent facilities”.

Esther Herranz. 



At CLÍNICA RAHHAL, we don’t want you to have to break the bank to be able to see; we want to ensure our patients can afford our treatments.

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Select one of the following frequently-asked questions from our patients to display the answer. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us using the form below.

Do all diabetics develop retinal damage?

No. The type of diabetes, and therefore the time at which it appears, will have a significant impact when it comes to a patient’s being more or less likely to develop diabetic retinopathy. The measures taken by each patient to monitor their blood glucose levels will be critical, as well as managing other blood pressure-related risk factors.

If the retina is affected as a result of diabetes, is it affected in the same way in every case?

Not necessarily. Diabetic retinopathy has different stages and not all patients will end up with all the associated complications. Vision impairment will also depend a great deal on whether or not the diabetic retinopathy is accompanied by macular oedema.

Can I lose my vision as a result of diabetic retinopathy?

Yes, visual acuity can be impaired as a result of diabetic retinopathy and the complications linked to it. That is why good management is of utmost importance right from the outset.

I am diabetic. How often should I have an eye examination with an ophthalmologist?

Generally speaking, we always recommend an annual check-up. However, if an anomaly is detected, depending on the severity of the lesions, your ophthalmologist may recommend more frequent check-ups, according to each specific case.

Does blood sugar management affect the retina?

Of course. The best way to prevent diabetic retinopathy is good blood sugar management. However, we need to bear in mind that there are also other factors involved.

Apart from the retina, are other eye structures affected as a result of diabetes?

Even though diabetic retinopathy is perhaps the most well-known eye disorder stemming from diabetes, this particular disease also affects other structures of the eye leading to dry eye syndrome and early cataracts.

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