Control Risk Factors. Tight control of glucose can help prevent or delay the onset of retinopathy. Control of blood pressure and cholesterol are also important factors. It is important for all diabetics to get annual dilated eye exams from an ophthalmologist to determine whether retinopathy is present.
Risk for Blindness. Diabetic retinopathy can be divided in two types non-proliferative or proliferative. Non-proliferative can become proliferative if glucose levels (hemoglobin a1c), blood pressure, cholesterol, and lipids are not controlled. Macular edema can be present in any type. Laser photocoagulation or ocular injections are performed for the proliferative type, and macular edema to prevent severe vision loss.
Can blind you. Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication for diabetes. It involves the elevated glucose stimulating new, fragile, blood vessels to form under the retina. When you have even minor trauma, you can have a bleed under the retina that will kill it. If it happens enough, you will go blind. Be seen for a dilated exam as it can be treated if you have not had a bleed.