Information about Diabetic Retinopathy

About 21 million Americans have diabetes, a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Although no cure exists for diabetes, blood glucose levels can be controlled by carefully following a program of diet, exercise, and (if necessary) medication.

High blood glucose levels can damage small blood vessels in the retina, a condition called diabetic retinopathy. The condition affects more than 4.1 million Americans age 40 and over and is more common in people with poorly controlled diabetes.

One out of 12 people over age 40 with diabetes has diabetic retinopathy severe enough to cause vision loss. Experts predict that number will rise dramatically in the coming years.

Publication Review By: Susan B. Bressler, M.D., Harry A. Quigley, M.D., Oliver D. Schein, M.D., M.P.H.

Published: 04 Mar 2011

Last Modified: 03 Apr 2013