Diabetic retinopathy is a complication that occurs in diabetics that affects the light sensitive tissue in the back of the eye (the retina). There are many stages of diabetic retinopathy ranging from mild to severe, but the two main classes are Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR).
Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) is considered early diabetic retinopathy and is the most common type. Having too much sugar in the bloodstream can cause blockages of tiny vessels in the retina. These blockages cause the blood vessels to bulge and break, allowing blood and fluid to leak into the retinal tissue. Patients in this stage may have no noticeable symptoms.
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