Diabète Québec estimates that close to 830 000 people live with diabetes in Quebec. It is important to know that diabetes may affect and cause eye damage.
Diabetic retinopathy is a serious diabetes complication that affects the eyes and the retina—the nerve tissue at the back of the eye which transmits visual signals to the brain. Damage to this delicate tissue can cause significant damage, even blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy starts with a slight deterioration to the blood vessels of the retina. Parts of these vessels expand and fluid leaks into the edges of the retinal tissue. Generally these changes in the retina do not cause any symptoms. However, it can be detected by a professional trained to see subtle changes in this retinal disease.
Scars also develop near the retina and there is danger for retinal detachment. Severe loss or total loss of vision may occur. However, this only occurs in a small number of diabetic sufferers.