If your health care provider believes you may have diabetic retinopathy, they may refer you to an ophthalmologist for certain exams and tests to be sure. You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.

Your provider may give you an eye exam that includes:

  • Checking visual acuity to test how well you see objects in front of you
  • Evaluating the retina
  • Measuring eye pressure
  • Performing a refraction to see if you need a new prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses

During this test, you’ll receive an injection of dye into an arm vein. Your provider will use a special camera to take pictures of the dye as it moves through your eyes. This can allow your provider to identify signs of diabetic retinopathy, such as abnormal blood vessels.

This imaging test uses light waves to form pictures of the retina’s different layers. This can help your provider determine each layer’s thickness, which is important diagnostic information.