Bridge2Health Vision What you should know Did you know that diabetes can lead to eye complications? The statistics are alarming. Diabetes affects more than 8.3% of the U.S. population. 1 Diabetes can lead to many eye complications, from dry eyes to blindness. The major cause of blindness in people with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. 2 Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. The blood vessels weaken and begin to leak fluid. This causes two major problems: • • Diabetic•macular•edema, or retinal swelling of the area that allows us to see fine details clearly • • Retinal•neovascularization, or the growth of new abnormal blood vessels. These vessels are very fragile, tend to hemorrhage and don’t supply the retina with normal blood flow. These fragile new vessels may bleed into the vitreous, the clear jellylike substance that fills the center of the eye Quick fact: The risks associated with diabetic retinopathy can be reduced through early diagnosis and proper treatment.