According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, diabetic retinopathy is detected in 20% of newly-diagnosed diabetes cases. Since retinopathy is an advanced form of diabetes-related eye disease, this statistic suggests that patients may have been suffering the effects of retinopathy four to seven years before it is even diagnosed.
Diabetes causes abnormalities in the blood vessels that feed oxygen to the retina. Without adequate oxygen, the retina begins to die. If left unchecked, blindness may ensue. Damage is often irreversible, but if detected early, there are treatments available such as injections, laser therapy, and surgery. You can also proactively keep your diabetes under control to avoid this disease.