Diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease occurs when there is a change in the blood vessels of the retina. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults and can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. In some cases, diabetic retinopathy causes the blood vessels to swell and leak fluid. In other cases, new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. At first, changes are not always noticeable in diabetic retinopathy but over time can cause vision loss. It usually affects both eyes.
 
There are four stages of diabetic retinopathy:
 
  1. Mild non proliferative retinopathy; this is the earliest stage, micro aneurysms occur as there are small areas of swelling in the retina’s tiny blood vessels.
  2. Moderate non proliferative retinopathy; as the disease progresses, some vessels that nourish the retina become blocked.
  3. Severe non proliferative retinopathy; more blood vessels become blocked, depriving areas of the retina with blood supply. As a result, the retina sends a message to the body to grow more blood vessels. 
  4. Proliferative retinopathy; new abnormal blood vessels grow on the retina’s surface, which if they leak blood can cause severe vision loss.
 
 
Learn more about symptoms of diabetic retinopathy

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