Diabetic Retinopathy

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Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially blinding complication of diabetes that damages the eye's retina. It effects half of all Americans diagnosed with diabetes.

Self Help & Tips

  • Get Vitamins & Supplements to Support Retina Health

  • Recommended Homeopathic remedy for maculaHomeopathic Macular Degeneration Pellets Helpful for retinal support.

  • See our recommending juicing recipe for daily organic juice.
  • Drink plenty of purified water daily.
  • Eat cold water fish several times a week.
  • Increase fiber in your diet, and eat meals slowly.
  • Take digestive aids (in a natural form) if needed to improve digestion.
  • Yoga. Research suggests that 12 minutes of yoga every day brings about a measurable reductions in inflammation - an issue in diabetic retinopathy.
  • Avoid cortisone. This drug raises blood sugar.
  • Limit medications you don't really need, working closely with your doctor.
  • Certain nutrients such as gymnema sylvestra, vandal sulfate, lutein, zeaxanthin, a number of vitamins & enzymes, and fish oil may help those with diabetic retinopathy and may help to preserve vision.

At first, you may notice no change in your vision, but don't let diabetic retinopathy fool you. The condition could get worse over the years and threaten your vision. With timely treatment, 90% of those with advanced diabetic retinopathy can be saved from blindness.

However, only 6% of diabetics lose their vision. Blindness is largely preventable if patient and the medical team work together diligently. Prevention relies upon the proper use of medications, daily blood sugar testing, correct lifestyle habits, diet and supplementation.


It is possible to have diabetic retinopathy for a long time before you realize it. In many cases, the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are not apparent until the retina has been quite damaged and your sight has been compromised.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy and its complications may include:

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Difficulty reading
  • Eye floaters
  • Partial or total vision loss or what feels like a permanent shadow cast across your field of vision
  • Eye pain

Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Type I Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes) develops when the body produces too little insulin. This condition generally starts in childhood.
  • Type II Diabetes (Adult-Onset Diabetes) develop over many years, and is caused by the body either not producing enough insulin or not being able to utilize the insulin produced effectively.
  • Low serum magnesium in diabetic patients is a risk factor for diabetic retinopathy. See the research.
  • Low folic acid levels are tied to greater risk of diabetic retinopathy.1
  • Patients with kidney disease are at a greater risk of developing diabetic eye disease.2
  • Vitamin D deficiency is associated with diabetic eye disease, like folic acid deficiency, the greater the deficiency the greater the risk and severity.3
  • Lab animals treated with an extract of a tropical plant, Caesalpinia pulcherrima displayed better antioxidant levels and lessening of levels of blood sugar alcohol.4

Conventional Treatment

There are two surgical treatments for diabetic retinopathy:

Laser Surgery is used to treat macula edema and proliferative retinopathy (advanced diabetic retinopathy). One type of laser treatment is "focal laser treatment", which seals the leaking vessels. Generally, laser surgery is used to stabilize vision, not necessarily to improve it. A second type of laser surgery is "scatter laser treatment", used for proliferative retinopathy. This treatment shrinks the abnormal blood vessels. Often this can result in side vision loss.

Vitrectomy is an eye operation performed if you have a lot of blood in the vitreous (back of the eye). It involves removing the cloudy vitreous and replacing it with a salt solution. Early vitrectomy is especially effective in people with insulin-dependent diabetes, who may be at a greater risk of blindness from a hemorrhage into the eye.

European researchers have found that optogenetics, in which light-sensing proteins are introduced into the eye, may be helpful in treating retinal degenerative conditions like diabetic retinopathy.

Research and information

See these studies on diabetic retinopathy treatment.


1. G. Malaguarnera, et al, Folate status in type 2 diabetic patients with and without retinopathy, Clinical Ophthalmology, August, 2015.
2. H.P. Hammes, et al, Risk Factors for Retinopathy and DME in Type 2 Diabetes-Results from the German/Austrian DPV Database, PLoS One, July 2015
3. N. Alcubierre, et al, Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated with the Presence and Severity of Diabetic Retinopathy in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Journal of Diabetes Research, May, 2015.
4. M.P. Kumar, et al, The inhibitory effect of Isoflavones isolated from Caesalpinia pulcherrima on aldose reductase in STZ induced diabetic rats, Chemico-Biological Interactions, July, 2015