Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. It is caused when high blood sugar levels, and high blood pressure damage the retina. If it is left undiagnosed, and is not treated it can cause blindness.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a progressive condition , so usually it would take several years to be serious enough to threaten your sight.
In the early stages there will not normally be any obvious symptoms, but it can be detected by taking photographs of the eyes during diabetic eye screening.
The retina is a thin layer of nerve tissue lining the inside of the back of the eye. Light that enters your eye through the pupil is focused by the lens onto the retina. This causes signals to be sent along the optic nerve to the brain where they are interpreted into the images you see.
The retina has to have a constant blood supply in order to function properly, and it receives this through a network of very small blood vessels.
If your blood sugar levels are persistently high, the blood vessels supplying the retina can be damaged over time, and in three main stages…