Characteristics, forms and technical terms of diabetic eye diseases

Diabetic retinopathy is repeatedly used as a generic term for diabetic eye diseases. It can be distinguished in its course in the early and late stages. There are also other forms of the disease. We explain the relevant technical terms below.

Forms of diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy can be defined as a microvascular secondary disease of diabetes mellitus and is caused by increasing damage to the small blood vessels (microangiopathy), which at first unnoticed damage the retina and, if left untreated, can lead to blindness.

  • Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy

    Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is considered to be the initial stage of retinal disease caused by diabetes. Patients usually do not notice any symptoms at this stage. A disease in this phase can be treated well and the progression of retinopathy can usually be stopped easily.

  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy

    Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy can develop into proliferative diabetic retinopathy after years without treatment. Acute and severe visual impairment up to complete blindness is possible. This late stage is in urgent need of treatment.

  • Diabetic maculopathy and diabetic macular edema

    In addition to non-proliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy, there is also a so-called diabetic maculopathy in both forms of diabetic retinopathy. It is characterized by the fact that the macula (the point of sharpest vision) in particular is affected by damage. Macular edema that has developed there impairs visual function and can lead to permanent damage to the central retina with permanent loss of vision.

Hypertensive retinopathy

A disease of the retina caused by chronic high blood pressure is called hypertensive retinopathy. The eye disease is also caused by damage to the small blood vessels in the eye and requires appropriate therapy to prevent consequential damage.

What are microaneurysms?

Expansions in the vessel wall of the small blood vessels are called microaneurysms. In diabetic microangiopathy, these occur on the small capillaries of the retina. This can lead to leakage or bleeding, which can damage your eyesight.

Further information on diabetes and the eye

Medical check-ups for diabetics

Diabetics belong to the risk group for eye diseases, so check-ups by the ophthalmologist are crucial. Our ophthalmological practice specializes in the detection and treatment of diabetes-related diseases of the eye. We use the latest technologies in ophthalmic medicine, work very sensitively, absolutely sterile and particularly precise, so that examinations and treatment can be experienced quickly and painlessly.

  • Dr Lemmen Vorschaubild

    PD Dr. Klaus Dieter Lemmen


    Many years of experience as senior physician and chief physician in specific eye clinics. Focus: Age-related macular degeneration, retinal diseases and diabetes-induced retina diseases

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  • Dr. K Vahdat Vorschaubild

    Dr. Katarina Vahdat


    Focus: general ophthalmology and pediatric ophthalmology. Treatment of various macula diseases, diabetic retinopathy and diabetic maculopathy

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