file_444cdadff71d0d1633848Diabetes is a disease that affects the blood vessels, particularly those in the kidney and eye. When the blood vessels in the eye are affected, the condition is known as diabetic retinopathy.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

A multi-layered tissue, called the retina, lies at the back of the eye. The retina detects visual images and transmits them to the brain. When the blood vessels of the retina are damaged due to diabetes, they may leak fluid or blood and grow scar tissue, hindering the function of the retina.

It is the leading cause of new blindness among adults in the United States. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher the incidence of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

There are two phases of diabetic retinopathy. In the early stage, reading vision is typically not affected, but the disease can cause severe vision problems later on. There are usually no symptoms with background diabetic retinopathy. An eye exam is the only way to diagnose the changes occurring.

When the retinopathy becomes advanced, new vessels proliferate in the retina. These new vessels are the body’s attempt to replace the vessels that have been damaged by diabetes. But these new vessels are abnormal. They may bleed, causing vision to become hazy or totally lost. Retinal detachment is also a serious, sight-threatening condition, requiring immediate medical attention.


With treatment, only a small percentage of those with diabetic retinopathy have serious vision problems today.Treatment can help slow the progressing damage to the blood vessels.