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Eye injections for diabetic retinopathy

Find out how this treatment for diabetic retinopathy works, and if it’s right for you

Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetic eye disease that involves damage to the retina – the light-sensitive part at the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy usually only affects those people who have had diabetes for several years.  

As diabetes becomes worse, high blood sugar levels can damage the tiny blood vessels in the retina, which can break, bleed and leak fluid. All forms of diabetic eye disease can potentially cause severe vision loss.  

Diabetic macular oedema (also known as diabetic oedema) is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetic retinopathy in the UK. Diabetic oedema involves a swelling of fluid in an area of the retina called the macula, which controls central vision. Around half of all people with diabetic retinopathy will develop diabetic oedema.

Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular oedema typically have no early warning signs until they start affecting vision. Bleeding from diabetic retinopathy may cause blurred vision. As diabetic retinopathy progresses, common symptoms may include:

  • Seeing small spots ‘floating’ in your vision (floaters);
  • Blurred or distorted central vision;
  • Impaired colour vision and
  • Dark or empty areas in your vision.

Injections of medicines that stop blood vessels forming, known as anti-VEGF drugs, can be used to treat diabetic macular oedema.   

At your appointment, your eye will be numbed with a local anaesthetic, and you will lie back on a couch. Your doctor will then use a very thin needle will be used to administer the drugs. Eye injections are an outpatient procedure, meaning you will be able to go home the same day.   

Your ophthalmologist will let you know how often you will need to attend appointments for your injections, as you will likely need repeat injections. It is often monthly to begin with.   

Steroid injections might be used instead of anti-VEGF injections, or if they do not help.

After anti-VEGF injections you might feel some discomfort, such as itchiness, dryness, or feeling like there’s something in your eye. These should improve with time. There is also a very small risk of blood clots, which your doctor will discuss with you.   

After steroid injections you might experience an increase in eye pressure.

Our 500 trusted eyecare experts offer personalised care at over 40 BMI Healthcare centres across the UK.   

Our experts in affordable eye care offer fast access to treatment in a safe and comfortable environment.   

Your eye injections will provide the best possible outcome, along with excellent value for money, to help improve your quality of life.

What you pay will depend on the exact treatment you need. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation.

Specialists offering Eye injections for diabetic retinopathy

Mr Nonavinakere Manjunatha

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB BS, MD in Ophthalmology (AIIMS), MRCOphth (Lon)

BMI The Meriden Hospital

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