Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina (the light-sensitive lining in the back of the eye where vision is focused). These weak vessels can leak, swell, or develop thin branches, causing a loss of vision. In its advanced stages, the disease can cause blurred or cloudy vision, floaters, and blind spots – and, eventually, blindness. This damage is irreversible.
Fortunately, this condition is preventable. People with diabetes are most susceptible to developing it, but your risk is reduced if you follow your prescribed diet and medications, exercise regularly, control your blood pressure, and avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Regular eye exams are an integral part of making sure your eyes are healthy.
Although damage caused by this condition cannot be corrected, patients diagnosed with the condition can be treated to slow its progression and prevent further vision loss. Treatment modalities include laser and surgical procedures.
When blood vessels in the retina are damaged they may leak, swell, or develop brush-like branches and extensions. This damage can lead to diabetic retinopathy.