Diabetes can cause severe complications in many organs including your eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is one such condition that can develop as a result of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy depends on the duration of time diabetes is present and is caused by small blood vessel damage to the back layer of the eye (the retina) which results in progressive loss of vision, even blindness. Some other serious complications of diabetes are cardiovascular disease (such as heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis), nephropathy (damage to kidneys), neuropathy (damage to nerves), foot damage, Alzheimer's disease, skin problems, pregnancy complications, etc.
Retinal image of right eye of a patient in Type I Diabetes mellitus showing numerous flame-shaped hemorrhages due to diabetic retinopathy. It is observed that in severe cases about all patients with type 1 diabetes and about 60% of patients with type 2 diabetes suffer from retinopathy. A study suggests that vision-threatening retinopathy is rare in type 1 diabetic patients in the first 3–5 years of diabetes or before puberty.
Diabetic retinopathy can cause the blood vessels to inflame. Diabetic retinopathy can cause blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid or hemorrhage (bleed). Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels growth may occur which damage the nerve tissues. Diabetic retinopathy can lead to vision changes or blindness. Early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include blurred vision, difficulty seeing colors, floaters, etc. In severe cases, diabetic retinopathy can also cause glaucoma.
People with diabetes can develop an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. This happens when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels in your retina. These blood vessels can swell and start leaking. They may also close, stopping the blood from passing through.
Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye problems that can affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. With time, diabetes can cause serious damage to your eyes that can lead to poor vision or even blindness.
Types of diabetic retinopathy: Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) is the early stage of the disease in which symptoms will be mild or nonexistent. In NPDR, the blood vessels in the retina become weakened. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is the more advanced form of the disease.