Glossary of Terms
This is when fluid leaks into the center of the macula, the part of the eye that allows for central vision. Central vision is the sharp, straight-ahead vision needed to see fine detail. When fluid leaks into the macula, it causes swelling and blurs vision. Macular edema can happen at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, although it is more likely to happen as the disease worsens. About half of the people with proliferative retinopathy also have macular edema.
This dystrophy happens when part of the epithelium does not develop normally, and epithelial cells cannot properly adhere to it. This causes the erosion of the epithelium. This condition is also called "epithelial basement membrane dystrophy," since it affects the area of the epithelium called the basement membrane.
This is the earliest stage. People in this stage have small areas of balloon-like swelling in the retina's tiny blood vessels. These are called microaneurysms.
In this second stage, blood vessels that nourish the retina become blocked.