What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Over time, these damaged blood vessels can leak fluid and blood into the retina, causing it to swell and impairing vision. In some cases, new blood vessels may grow on the surface of the retina, which can cause additional bleeding and scarring, leading to further vision loss or even blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy often develops gradually and may not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. As the condition progresses, symptoms may include blurry or distorted vision, floaters (spots or strings that seem to float in your field of vision), impaired color vision, and even total vision loss.

It's important for people with diabetes to have regular eye exams to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy, as early detection and treatment can help prevent or delay vision loss.