This condition occurs when Diabetes causes the retina’s blood vessels to be damaged. Because of this damage, those vessels have a certain malfunctioning, so they can either swell and leak in one scenario, or they can close up on the other, preventing blood from passing. In a different scenario, there can be growth of new blood vessels on the retina. All of those occurrences can cause a loss of vision in the diabetic patient.
Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR)
This is an early stage of the disease, and unfortunately, many patients that are diagnosed with diabetes have it. When the Macula swells, this is known as Macular Edema, which is the most common reason for loss of vision in diabetic patients.
Not only that, but the retina’s blood vessels can also close off because of this condition, and this is known as Macular Ischemia. This prevents the blood from being able to reach the macula. Moreover, there can be some tiny particulars known as “exudates” that form in the retina, which can also affect the patient’s vision.
One of the clearest symptoms of NPDR in diabetic patients is having blurry vision.
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR)
In this advanced stage of the disease, an event called neovascularization takes places, and this is when the retina produces new blood vessels. But due to the fragility of those new blood vessels, oftentimes they would bleed into the vitreous. If those vessels bleed a little, the patient may see some dark floaters, but if the bleeding increases, this might block all of the patient’s vision.
Moreover, those new blood vessels can cause tissue scars, which itself can cause problems with the macula, as it can also lead to another condition of a detached retina.
This stage is very serious, and it can take away the patient’s vision, centrally and peripherally.