Revealed! What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

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Most people who aren't familiar with diabetes aren't aware of the host of side effects that accompany this debilitating disease. Diabetic retinopathy is just one of the problems that plague diabetics. 

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication from diabetes that affects the eyes. Over time, diabetes can cause retina damage, which often leads to vision loss. As it turns out, the longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to experience retina problems. 

The tiny blood vessels leading to the retina in the eyes become damaged from high blood sugar, making them particularly sensitive to light. The vessels then leak blood into the retinas, causing them to become swollen and result in cloudy vision, explains the American Optometric Association (AOA). 

According to the AOA, the early stages of diabetic retinopathy may not need medical attention, but as the condition progresses, it can lead to macular edema. At that point, doctors may recommend laser surgery to prevent the blood from leaking into the retina and causing any further damage. In the case of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, a scattered laser is used to save central vision, but in the process, the patient may lose peripheral vision.