Diabetes is a chronic disease related to high blood sugar that may lead to vision loss. Most sight loss due to diabetes can be prevented but early diagnosis is vital which is why diabetic patients should have an annual eye examination. Diabetic retinopathy can be one of the complications of advanced or long-term diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy affects the network of blood vessels lying within the retina which can leak and damage the entire retina including the macula. The vessels may leak blood and fluid in the early stages and can result in blocked vessels in later stages which means new weaker blood vessels will grow in the eye. These new vessels can grow in the wrong place and can leak and cause scarring which can pull and distort the retina and can lead to retinal detachment.
Laser treatment of localised areas of leakage can maintain vision levels but will not regain vision lost. Vision can generally be maintained provided treatment is started early enough and may help to avoid the later stage complications.