In patients with diabetes, the body does not store and use sugar properly. High levels of sugar in the blood can damage the tiny blood vessels throughout the body – in the heart, the kidneys, the brain, and the eyes. Damage to the blood vessels of the retina (the nerve layer at the back of the eye responsible for vision) is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can occur in anyone who has Type I, Type II, or gestational diabetes and is responsible for a large percentage of adult-onset blindness. Retinopathy can cause severe damage to the delicate retinal tissues and cause both temporary and permanent vision problems.