Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that occurs when poorly controlled blood sugar damages blood vessels in a part of the eye called the retina. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is one of the most severe types. PDR happens when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow in the retina, causing bleeding, scarring and vision loss.1

The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop PDR. However, large studies have shown you are less likely to develop PDR if you have controlled:2

  • Blood sugar levels
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood pressure

Regular eye checks are important for all diabetic patients, so signs of retinopathy can be detected and treated early. It’s important to tell your doctor immediately if you notice any changes in your vision.1

Where can I find more information on PDR?

The following organisations are sources for support, advice and information.

Diabetes UK
Support, advice and information for those living with diabetes
Helpline: 0345 123 2399
Mon–Fri 9am–6pm

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
Support, advice and information for those living with sight loss
Helpline: 0303 123 9999
Mon–Fri 8am–8pm, Sat 9am–5pm



  1. Moorfields Eye Hospital. Diabetic retinopathy. Available at: https://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/condition/diabetic-retinopathy [Accessed June 2020].
  2. Moorfields Eye Hospital. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Available at: https://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/Proliferative%20diabetic%20retinopathy%20%28PDR%29.pdf [Accessed June 2020].
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OPT20-C039d September 2020.

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