More and more people are developing diabetes nowadays, often without even knowing they have the disease. Diabetes damages blood vessels in the body; in the eye, the retinal blood vessels can leak or bleed in diabetics, leading to diabetic retinopathy. In early diabetic retinopathy, patients may have no symptoms. At this early stage, many diabetics are unaware of their condition, and in many cases the diabetes is initially diagnosed during an eye exam. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can worsen, resulting in either gradual or sudden loss of vision. Diabetic retinopathy may require treatment with intraocular medication or with laser; more advanced cases may require surgery. Diabetic retinopathy and other eye diseases are just more reasons why it is so important to have regular eye exams.