It affects up to 80 per cent of people who have had diabetes for 20 years or more. At least 90% of new cases could be reduced if there were proper treatment and monitoring of the eyes. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher his or her chances of developing diabetic retinopathy. Each year in the United States, diabetic retinopathy accounts for 12% of all new cases of blindness. It is also the leading cause of blindness for people aged 20 to 64 years.