About Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes occurs when the body can’t produce or properly use a hormone called insulin, which results in high levels of blood sugar (glucose) in the body, and can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves.

In type 1 diabetes, the body produces little or no insulin, and the condition can be controlled by insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body produces inadequate amounts of insulin or cannot respond appropriately to it. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled by diet, medication and sometimes exercise.

Diabetes can affect many parts of the body, and people with diabetes are at a high risk of developing vision problems, usually from a condition called diabetic retinopathy. It’s estimated that half a million Canadians have diabetic retinopathy.

Without treatment, the condition can lead to uncorrectable vision loss or even blindness, usually in both eyes. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in Canadians under 50. But with regular comprehensive eye exams by an eye doctor, diabetic retinopathy can be detected and treated, often prolonging the ability to see and preventing further damage.

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