Q. I am type 1 diabetic and having vision changes with floaters. Is it due to diabetic retinopathy?

Answered by
Dr. Dada Peer K
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 06, 2019 and last reviewed on: Dec 09, 2019

Hi doctor,

I am 27 years old. I got late-onset type 1 diabetes when I was 25 years old. I was told diabetic retinopathy takes at least five years, but I have had some vision changes. I am concerned about that. I have been seeing rather large floaters. They are not crystal floaters but appear in bright sunlight as transparent dark lines and in dimly lit rooms, when they move over light, they appear white.

A couple of days ago I was driving at night and might have seen a flash, but it also could have been lightning in the sky off in the distance but I am not sure. Since then I have not seen any obvious flashes but have been questioning whether I am seeing small, barely visual ones. I made an appointment for a diabetic eye exam and the soonest I could get into an ophthalmologist who takes my insurance is in two and a half weeks. Is this too long to wait? I will definitely pay out of pocket for an exam if scheduling sooner could save my vision.

Dr. Dada Peer K

Ophthalmology (Eye Care)


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I reviewed your history. The symptoms of flashes of light with the presence of floaters along with the history of diabetes require evaluation. Waiting for two and a half weeks will be too long considering your profile as you are having type 1 diabetes. Five years is the time period we give for the screening of diabetic retinopathy in type 2 diabetes, but in type 1 there is no time frame as such and this can occur early also. Hence, I advise you to schedule your eye examination early as possible with your ophthalmologist.

I hope this helps.

The Probable causes:

Vitreous degeneration, vitreous detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, diabetic retinopathy.

Investigations to be done:

Indirect ophthalmoscopy.

Differential diagnosis:

Vitreous degeneration, vitreous detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, diabetic retinopathy.

Probable diagnosis:

Vitreous detachment.

Treatment plan:

Needs to be planned depending on the diagnosis.

Preventive measures:

Avoid straining, lifting heavy weights, running, heavy exercises.

Regarding follow up:

Eye examination at the earliest.

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