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About Diabetic Retinopathy DR: What is Diabetic Retinopathy? About Diabetic Retinopathy DR: What is Diabetic Retinopathy? Understanding DR

Under-standing DR

What is Diabetic Retinopathy (DR), and what can it do to your eyes?

Picture of effects of diabetic retinopathy on the eye, showing small areas of bleeding, macula, retina,optic nerve, and microaneurysms (bulges in blood vessels).


Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in people 20 to 74 years of age in the United States. DR is the most common diabetic eye disease and can lead to vision loss—but early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care may help reduce the severity of the disease.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) is a complication of DR, and can lead to further vision problems.


DR happens when too much blood sugar (glucose) damages the blood vessels in the retina. As a result:

  • The retina does not get enough oxygen and nutrients
  • Blood vessels can leak blood into the retina

Throughout the early stages of Diabetic Retinopathy, existing blood vessels in the eye can become swollen and blocked, and leak blood and fluid into the retina—though there may be no visual symptoms.

Diabetic Retinopathy can get worse over time, particularly if it's not managed. In the moderate stages, the bleeding continues and visual symptoms may begin to appear.

If Diabetic Retinopathy progresses into its most advanced stage (proliferative), an increased growth of new blood vessels occurs. These new blood vessels are fragile and easily damaged—which adds to the swelling and leaking.

DME is a complication of DR, and occurs if the macula, the area of the retina at the back of the eye responsible for sharp central vision, swells with fluid leaked from those damaged blood vessels. You can learn more about DME here.

With DR, you may not experience any symptoms at first. But as the disease progresses, it can affect both central vision and peripheral (side) vision—causing symptoms like blurriness or floating spots in your vision (floaters).

It’s important to remember that even if no symptoms are present, early detection and timely treatment can go a long way to reduce the severity of DR. Learn more about the stages of DR and how EYLEA may be able to help.

If you're living with diabetes, be sure to get a dilated eye exam at least once a year.


If you have diabetes, a dilated eye exam can detect changes in your vision—and can help diagnose DR before symptoms appear. Don't wait. Be sure to get a dilated eye exam at least once a year. Also be sure to follow up with your eye doctor on a regular basis.

View study results for EYLEA, an anti-VEGF treatment for patients with Diabetic Retinopathy.


EYLEA has been studied in more than 3,000 people with certain diseases of the retina. Learn more about the #1 prescribed FDA-approved anti-vascular endothelial growth (anti-VEGF) factor treatment for patients with DR in DME.*

*IBM Truven MarketScan data: Number of injections administered, from Oct. 2017 through Sept. 2018; Data on File.

EYLEA is a prescription medicine given by injection into the eye. You should not use EYLEA if you have an infection in or around the eye, eye pain or redness, or known allergies to any of the ingredients in EYLEA, including aflibercept.

Learn how EYLEA may be able to help




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Diabetic Macular Edema DME

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Just a few changes may make a big difference in your daily routine.

DME is a complication of DR, which occurs when DR affects the macula.

  • EYLEA® (aflibercept) Injection is a prescription medicine administered by injection into the eye. You should not use EYLEA if you have an infection in or around the eye, eye pain or redness, or known allergies to any of the ingredients in EYLEA, including aflibercept.
  • Injections into the eye with EYLEA can result in an infection in the eye and retinal detachment (separation of retina from back of the eye) can occur. Inflammation in the eye has been reported with the use of EYLEA.
  • In some patients, injections with EYLEA may cause a temporary increase in eye pressure within 1 hour of the injection. Sustained increases in eye pressure have been reported with repeated injections, and your doctor may monitor this after each injection.
  • There is a potential but rare risk of serious and sometimes fatal side effects, related to blood clots, leading to heart attack or stroke in patients receiving EYLEA.
  • The most common side effects reported in patients receiving EYLEA were increased redness in the eye, eye pain, cataract, vitreous (gel-like substance) detachment, vitreous floaters, moving spots in the field of vision, and increased pressure in the eye.
  • You may experience temporary visual changes after an EYLEA injection and associated eye exams; do not drive or use machinery until your vision recovers sufficiently.
  • Contact your doctor right away if you think you might be experiencing any side effects, including eye pain or redness, light sensitivity, or blurring of vision, after an injection.
  • For additional safety information, please talk to your doctor and see the full Prescribing Information for EYLEA.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


EYLEA® (aflibercept) Injection 2 mg (0.05mL) is a prescription medicine approved for the treatment of patients with Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Macular Edema following Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO), Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), and Diabetic Retinopathy (DR).

Please see the full Prescribing Information for EYLEA.

The information contained herein is provided for general educational purposes. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor.

For U.S. Residents Only

EYLEA AND EYLEA4U are registered trademarks of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

© 2021, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Tarrytown, NY 10591

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