Diabetes can affect sight. If you have diabetes mellitus, your body does not use and store sugar properly. High blood-sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and helps send images to the brain. The damage to retinal vessels is referred to as diabetic retinopathy.

There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR).

A medical eye examination is the only way to detect changes inside your eye. The best treatment is to prevent the development of retinopathy as much as possible. Strict control of your blood sugar will significantly reduce the long-term risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.

Laser surgery is often recommended for people with macular edema (swelling of a small area in the center of the retina) and neovascular glaucoma (abnormal growth of new vessels on the surface of the retina).

Vitrectomy is a microsurgical procedure performed in an operating room. The blood filled vitreous is removed and replaced with a clear solution. Surgery should usually be done early because macular distortion or retina detachment will cause permanent vision loss.

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