Boothstown Medical Centre

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Pregnancy and Diabetic Eye Disease

Pregnancy can sometimes cause rapid progression of diabetic retinopathy, the condition affecting small blood vessels in the retina.  Retinal photographs can detect these changes early and ensure prompt referral if you need treatment.

Who is at risk of getting worsening retinopathy during pregnancy?

Nearly four out of ten people with diabetes have some retinopathy, usually mild.

Women who already have retinopathy, poor diabetic control or a history of recent poor control are at greater risk. The more severe the retinopathy is at the start of the pregnancy, the greater the chance of it worsening. In some cases, these changes need laser treatment.

Rapid improvement in diabetic control (which may be necessary for you or your baby’s health) and high blood pressure (including high blood pressure with the pregnancy) may also be associated with worsening of retinopathy.

What should I do now?

You can contact the Greater Manchester North Diabetic Eye Screening programme via the number below. They will arrange appointments for photographs to be taken in each trimester at a location convenient for you. If you are under the care of an Hospital Eye Service, please let them know you are pregnant so that they can arrange for you to be seen regularly. It is important you keep your appointments to have your eyes checked.

For more information please call the Booking Office on 01204 891000 or go to

Frequently Asked Questions

An NHS Greater Manchester North Diabetic Eye Screening Programme fact sheet with useful information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Pregnancy and Diabetic Eye Disease can be downloaded here.