Our resource hub is home to a wealth of articles, stories and videos about managing and living with type 1 diabetes.
Place your order for our free information packs that support adults and children who have been recently diagnosed.
Our researchers are working on different ways to develop a cure for type 1 diabetes - from growing insulin-producing beta cells in labs to hacking the immune system.
Learn about the technologies that can deliver insulin automatically when needed. And discover the next generation of insulins that are currently being developed.
We have a wide range of fun and festive designs to choose from. Fund life changing research while spreading joy this Christmas!
This Christmas, your gift can bring us closer to a cure for type 1 diabetes – and every pound you give to our Christmas Appeal will be doubled.
The announcement is the biggest treatment breakthrough for type 1 diabetes since the discovery of insulin.
This event is designed for anyone living with type 1 diabetes who would like to learn more about managing their wellbeing across a variety of contexts.
We provide a wealth of information and free resources to help you support and empower your patients or students.
Take our free course for schools to learn more about supporting pupils with type 1 diabetes in educational settings.
Home > Knowledge & support > Type 1 complications > Eye problems (retinopathy)
Type 1 diabetes can affect your eyes in many ways. Problems can be caused by a lack of blood supply to the eye or damage to the vessels.
The complications you may experience include:
Untreated eye problems can cause sight loss. However, it usually takes several years for eye problems to reach this stage. Managing your diabetes and your overall health can help reduce your risk of eye problems.
The retina at the back of the eye needs a constant supply of blood. Persistently high blood glucose levels can damage the blood vessels in your eyes. This is called diabetic retinopathy.
The NHS details three stages of diabetic retinopathy:
Picking up any problems with your eyes early and taking steps to reduce your risk can all help.
When the central part of the retina, called the macular, develops leaky or blocked blood vessels, this is called diabetic maculopathy or diabetic macular oedema. It’s a type of retinopathy.
It can happen at any age and if you do, you’ll experience poor vision in the centre of your eye. The vision at the side can remain normal. It can lead to permanent sight loss.
You’re unlikely to spot eye problems in the early stages yourself, so you’ll be invited to attend a diabetic eye screening appointment once a year.
“As diabetic eye screening only inspects the retina and surrounding area, you can also visit your local opticians to have a general eye check to pick up any other changes in your eye health.” ~ James Ridgeway, diabetes specialist nurse
It tends to take many years before vision loss happens, but it’s important to notice any changes to your sight including:
If there are any changes to your sight, don’t wait for your next screening. Instead, speak to your GP who can help. If a problem with your eyes is picked up early, treatment can stop it getting worse.
You may get diagnosed with an eye problem when attending your annual diabetic eye screening. The test involves having drops put in your eyes, examining the back of the eyes and having photographs taken.
If you have any signs of retinopathy or maculopathy, your specialist might discuss treatment options with you. You might need to attend more regular appointments.
If you experience any symptoms of eye problems, contact your GP or diabetes team straight away.
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing eye problems. This includes:
If you usually experience high glucose levels and bring them down over a short period of time, it can cause an advanced supply of blood to the vessels. If there is already damage, this can worsen symptoms and cause complications. It’s important to work with your healthcare team to drop your blood glucose levels safely.
For more advanced stages of eye problems, the main treatments are eye injections, laser treatments and eye surgery. Your diabetes team will talk to you about the different options.
If your eye problems are in the early stages, you’ll get advice about controlling your diabetes to help prevent vision loss.
If you experience any symptoms of nerve damage, speak to your GP or Diabetes Healthcare Team. They can help you to reduce the risk of damage getting worse and give you treatments to reduce your symptoms.
Berni Warren shares her experience of living with type 1 and eye complications.
Find out how we’re funding research to make type 1 complications a thing of the past.
Find out how to manage your blood glucose levels, count carbs and deal with hypos and hypers.
Find out who can help when you have questions about type 1 diabetes complications.
Living with type 1 diabetes can increase your risk of developing foot problems. Having type 1 reduces the blood supply to your feet and can cause a loss of feeling.
Good dental care and support is important if you have type 1 diabetes. Because of the extra glucose in your blood, you’re more at risk of gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss.
When blood glucose levels are high for a long time, it can damage the blood vessels and nerves. This can lead to a loss of blood supply to the legs and feet. It can also cause problems with your heart.
People with type 1 diabetes are at a higher risk of developing kidney problems, called nephropathy. Learn about the signs, how to reduce your risk and what the treatments are.
Nerves carry signals between your brain and other parts of your body. Over a long period of time, high blood glucose levels can cause damage to your nerves.
Genetic studies have shown that the same genetic changes that increase the risk of type 1 diabetes also increase the risk of other autoimmune conditions.