Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) is the earliest stage of diabetic retinopathy. With this condition, damaged blood vessels in the retina begin to leak extra fluid and small amounts of blood into the eye. Sometimes, deposits of cholesterol or other fats from the blood may leak into the retina. NPDR can cause changes in the eye, including: Microaneurysms. Small bulges in blood vessels of the retina that often leak fluid. Retinal hemorrhages. Tiny spots of blood that leak into the retina (these spots alone are rarely responsible for any loss of vision). Hard exudates. Deposits of cholesterol or other fats from the blood that have leaked into the retina.