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What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

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What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Edward Gruber, CN

The most common eye disease associated with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina -- the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy can cause blood vessels to swell and leak fluid; in other cases, it can cause abnormal new blood vessels to grow on the surface of the retina. The disease usually affects both eyes and can occur s decades after the onset of diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy has four progressive stages; in its most advanced stage – called proliferative retinopathy --fragile abnormalblood vessels can develop and leak blood into the center of the eye, impeding vision. Vision loss can also result from fluid leaking into the center of the macula, the part of the eye where sharp, straight-ahead vision occurs, where it causes swelling (macular edema).