Retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes that affects the retina—the part of the eye that creates pictures of what we see. In some cases, blood vessels in the retina begin to swell or leak; in other cases, fragile new blood vessels develop along this part of the eye. Either case can cause changes in vision and in extreme cases blindness. The American Diabetes Association recommends getting an eye exam every year to check for signs of retinopathy and other eye complications. Early detection can make treatment more effective. Keeping your blood sugar in good control can reduce your chances of developing retinopathy.