Diabetic retinopathy is a highly heritable disease which affects blood vessels in the retina, a light-sensitive tissue which lines the back of your eye. It?s the most common cause for vision loss among people with diabetes, and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults. With diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels can begin to hemorrhage blood or leak fluid, distorting your vision.

The most common cause of diabetic retinopathy is diabetes, though genetic factors can make it much more likely. Research has shown that diabetic retinopathy occurs more frequently in relatives of diabetic retinopathy patients than in the general population, showing that genetics definitely plays a role. That?s why it?s important to consider your genetic factors, and get regular eye exams to watch for symptoms.

Risk Factors

Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic Retinopathy by National Eye Institute

A risk factor is something that doesn?t always lead to a condition but increases the risk of having that condition.

Diabetic retinopathy is a disorder which can be caused by a number of genes which have not been positively identified yet. It has however been shown that inherited diabetic retinopathy accounts for about 27% of all cases, and as many as 52% of all cases of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, and advanced form of the disease.

While no gene groups have been positively identified as causing diabetic retinopathy, there are strong efforts underway to begin identifying these gene groups due to the high heritability of diabetic retinopathy.