Retinopathy is a complication of the retina caused due to diabetes (See: Retina). Retina is a part of the eye. Background retinopathy is an early condition of diabetic retinopathy. It is also called non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy. This condition occurs due to the damage of the nerves and the blood vessels of the retina because of diabetes. The retina is a thin tissue that lies in the back of the eye and is located near the optic nerve. It receives the light from the lens of the eye and converts it into neural impulses and then transmits it to the brain. The retina has photoreceptor cells. Any damage to the retina can lead to macular edema, retinal detachment, or even permanent blindness. In people with diabetes, due to the toxicity of high blood sugars, the tiny blood vessels or the capillaries tend to leak blood, fat, and proteins. This occurs due to the pressure of high blood sugars, and dysfunction and death of the vascular cells (endothelial cells). Moreover, high blood sugars also inhibit the dilation of the blood vessels by obstructing the action of nitric oxide, a vasodilator. This leads to contraction of blood vessels. Background retinopathy is only noticeable in an eye exam. It can be restricted by lifestyle modifications and strict diabetes control. It is important for a person with diabetes to get a periodical eye examination (dilated eye exam).