There are two stages of diabetic retinopathy:
- Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy – early stage
- Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy – late stage
In the early stage, you may not have any symptoms and your vision may not yet be affected. Therefore, it is vitally important to have regular eye check-ups if you suffer from diabetes, even if you don’t have symptoms. At this stage, the diseased retinal blood vessels can become leaky, causing swelling of the retina. If this swelling involves the macula, it is called diabetic macular oedema and is the most common cause of vision loss in diabetic patients.
In later stages of retinopathy, abnormal new blood vessels start to grow within and on the diseased retina. These abnormal blood vessels have thin, fragile walls and can easily leak or bleed, leading to scar tissue formation. These problems can cause severe damage to the retina which will invariably lead to irreversible vision loss if not detected early and managed properly.