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Diabetic Retinopathy - Cause

Diabetes damages small blood vessels throughout the body, leading to reduced blood flow. When these changes affect the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, diabetic retinopathy may occur.

In the early stage of diabetic retinopathy, tiny blood vessels in the eye weaken and develop small bulges that may burst and leak into the retina. Later, new fragile blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These blood vessels may break and bleed into the eye, clouding vision and causing scar tissue to form.

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The scar tissue may pull on the retina, leading to retinal detachment. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates from the wall of the eye. This can lead to vision loss.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 28, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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