About diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the most prevalent cause of blindness and vision loss in people under age 75. Over time, diabetes damages blood vessels in the retina, the inner lining at the back of the eye. If detected early through an exam of the retina, diabetic retinopathy can be treated with microsurgical insertion of drugs that block the growth of abnormal blood vessels and also stop fluid leaks; laser surgery; or vitrectomy, a surgery to remove the vitreous gel that fills the center of the eye.

Each year in the United States

  • 30.3 million people are living with diabetes
  • 84.1 million people have prediabetes
  • 7.7 million people age 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy
  • 24,000 people go blind because of diabetes, and many more have vision loss
  • By 2030, 11 million people ages 40 and older will be affected by diabetic retinopathy

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Diagnostic Imaging, UI Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; National Eye Institute; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases