- Diabetic Retinopathy is a microvascular complication of long-term Diabetes presence of Type I or Type II Diabetes Mellitus (DM). The pathology associated with diabetic retinopathy progresses through early, nonproliferative and late, proliferative stages. Early, nonproliferative retinopathy is characterized by small, focal hemorrhages and micro-aneurysms of retinal blood vessels. Late, proliferative retinopathy is characterized by proliferation of new capillaries (neovascularization) that are structurally weak. These weak capillaries tend to hemorrhage, cause significant damage to the retina, which can ultimately lead to blindness.