Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina). It can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated.
Persistently high blood sugar level can damage the tiny blood vessels within your retina in three main stages:
- tiny blobs develop in the blood vessels, which may bleed slightly but don’t usually affect your vision immediately– this is known as background retinopathy
- later more severe and widespread changes affect the blood vessels causing significant bleeding into the eye – this is known as pre-proliferative retinopathy
- eventually scar tissue and new blood vessels that develop , which are fragile bleeding easily,– known as proliferative retinopathy .This can result in significant loss of vision
However, if a problem with your eyes is picked up early, with some lifestyle changes and/or treatment it can stop getting worse.