What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
There are many complications that can arise from Diabetes mellitus (or diabetes), but one you may not have considered is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar (glucose). The disease is characterized by too much sugar in the blood, which can cause damage throughout the body, including the eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious sight-threatening condition and one of the major complications of diabetes. It’s caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye called the retina, which process light and vision for the brain. Over time, diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when these tiny blood vessels leak blood and other fluids. This causes the retinal tissue to swell, resulting in cloudy or blurred vision. The condition usually affects both eyes. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they will develop diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.