Facts About Diabetic Eye Disease
Points to Remember Diabetic eye disease comprises a group of eye conditions that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma. All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss and blindness. Diabetic retinopathy involves changes to retinal blood vessels that can cause them to bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. DME is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy that causes swelling in the area of the retina called the macula. Controlling diabetes—by taking medications as prescribed, staying physically active, and maintaining a healthy diet—can prevent or delay vision loss. Because diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed until vision loss occurs, people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect against vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with several therapies, used alone or in combination. NEI supports research to develop new therapies for diabetic retinopathy, and to compare the effectiveness of existing therapies for different patient groups. What is diabetic eye disease? Diabetic eye disease can affect many parts of the eye, including the retina, macula, lens and the optic nerve. Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye conditions that can affect people with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes Continue reading >>
What Are The Stages Of Diabetic Retinopathy?
The early stage of this disease is called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. In this stage blood vessels swell and sometimes bulge or balloon (aneurysm). The vessels may leak fluid that can build up in the retina and cause swelling. This condition is called macular edema, and it changes the vision of individuals with the disease. The blurriness is sometimes compared to trying to look through water. Description: In nonproliferative retinopathy, a slight deterioration in the small blood vessels of the retina, portions of the vessels may swell and leak fluid into the surrounding retinal tissue. Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health The fluid deposits that build up in the retina may clear up on their own, but fatty deposits sometimes remain that can affect vision. Later, vessels may begin to bleed inside the retina. In many cases when the small blood vessels close down, new, unhealthy blood vessels grow. These unhealthy blood vessels are not able to feed the retina. This stage of the disease is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Description: Proliferative retinopathy, an advanced form of diabetic retinopathy, occurs when abnormal new blood vessels and scar tissue form on the surface of the retina. Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health The unwanted blood vessels can grow on the back of the vitreous. Vitreous is the clear jelly-like fluid that fills most of the eyeball. vessels may also bleed into the vitreous. This bleeding may cause dark spots (floaters), strands that look like cobwebs, or clouded vision. Scars from these abnormal blood vessels sometimes pull the retina away from the back of the eye. As a result, the retina can tear or come completely loose from the eye. A detached or torn retina may result in se Continue reading >>
About Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy and Macular Edema Diabetic Retinopathy FAQ Eye Doctor Q&A Diabetic retinopathy vision-threatening damage to the retina of the eye caused by diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans. The good news: Diabetic retinopathy often can be prevented with early detection, proper management of your diabetes and routine eye exams performed by your optometrist or ophthalmologist . According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the United States has the highest rate of diabetes among 38 developed nations, with approximately 30 million Americans roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population between the ages of 20 and 79 having the disease. About 90 percent of Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which develops when the the body fails to produce enough insulin a hormone secreted by the pancreas that enables dietary sugar to enter the cells of the body or the body becomes resistant to insulin. This causes glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream to rise and can eventually damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). In the late stages of diabetic retinopathy, you may have blind spots and/or floaters. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, an unhealthful diet and physical inactivity. Unfortunately, the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes has increased significantly in the United States over the past 30 years. According to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in December 2015, there were 1.4 million new cases of diabetes reported in the U.S. in 2014. Though this annual number is down from the historic high of 1.7 million new cases in 2009, it is still three times higher than w Continue reading >>
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
If you have diabetes (type 1 or type 2), you could get diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects your eyes. But your chances of getting it depend on several things: How long you’ve had it How often your blood glucose changes How well controlled your sugars are At first, you may not even know you have diabetic retinopathy. Or, you might just notice minor vision problems. Either way, there are things you can do to prevent it. And there are treatments to help slow it down. You might not have any until your condition becomes severe. When you do start having symptoms, you might notice: A loss of central vision when you read or drive Inability to see colors Holes or black spots in vision See your doctor right away if you have any of these issues. When left untreated, diabetic retinopathy damages your retina. This is the lining at the back of your eye that transforms light into images. If your blood glucose level (blood sugar) is too high for too long, it blocks off the small blood vessels that keep the retina healthy. Your eye will try to grow new blood vessels, but they won’t develop well. They start to weaken and leak blood and fluid into your retina. This can cause another condition doctors call macular edema, which makes your vision blurry. As your condition gets worse, more blood vessels become blocked. Scar tissue builds up because of all the new blood vessels your eye has grown. This extra pressure can cause your retina to detach. It can also lead to glaucoma and other problems that may result in blindness. An eye doctor can usually tell if you have diabetic retinopathy during an eye exam. He’ll probably dilate your pupils to look for any changes in blood vessels or to see if new ones have grown. He’ll also check to see if your retina is swollen or has bec Continue reading >>
Print Overview Diabetic retinopathy (die-uh-BET-ik ret-ih-NOP-uh-thee) is a diabetes complication that affects eyes. It's caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, it can cause blindness. The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop this eye complication. Symptoms You might not have symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. As the condition progresses, diabetic retinopathy symptoms may include: Spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters) Blurred vision Fluctuating vision Impaired color vision Dark or empty areas in your vision Vision loss Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes. When to see a doctor Careful management of your diabetes is the best way to prevent vision loss. If you have diabetes, see your eye doctor for a yearly eye exam with dilation — even if your vision seems fine. Pregnancy may worsen diabetic retinopathy, so if you're pregnant, your eye doctor may recommend additional eye exams throughout your pregnancy. Contact your eye doctor right away if your vision changes suddenly or becomes blurry, spotty or hazy. Causes Over time, too much sugar in your blood can lead to the blockage of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, cutting off its blood supply. As a result, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels. But these new blood vessels don't develop properly and can leak easily. There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: Early diabetic retinopathy. In this more common form — called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) Continue reading >>
Diabetic Eye Disease: Diagnosis, Causes, And Symptoms
By Debra A. Sokol-McKay, MS, CVRT, CDE, CLVT, OTR/L, SCLV Diagnosing Diabetic Eye Disease How Diabetes Affects the Eyes and Vision: Diabetic Retinopathy Eye Examination Guidelines Diagnosing Diabetic Eye Disease Diabetic retinopathy usually has no early warning signs. It can be detected only through a comprehensive eye examination that looks for early signs of the disease, including: Leaking blood vessels Macular edema (swelling) Pale, fatty deposits on the retina Damaged nerve tissue Any changes to the retinal blood vessels To diagnose diabetic eye disease effectively, eye care specialists recommend a comprehensive diabetic eye examination that includes the following procedures: Distance and near vision acuity tests A dilated eye (or fundus) examination, which includes the use of an ophthalmoscope. In a dilated eye examination, it is the pupil that is dilated—not the entire eye. This allows the examiner to see through the pupil to the retina. Visual acuity tests alone are not sufficient to detect diabetic retinopathy in its early stages. A tonometry test to measure fluid pressure inside the eye. A fluorescein angiography test, if more serious retinal changes, such as macular edema, are suspected. Fluorescein angiography is an eye test that uses a special dye and camera to look at blood flow in the retina. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) testing may be used to gain a clearer picture of the retina and its supporting layers. OCT is a type of medical imaging technology that produces high-resolution cross-sectional and three-dimensional images of the eye. Also, an Amsler Grid test can detect early and sometimes subtle visual changes in a variety of macular diseases, including diabetic macular edema. The first image below shows an Amsler Grid as seen with unimpaired vis Continue reading >>
Practice Essentials Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a major medical problem throughout the world. Diabetes causes an array of long-term systemic complications that have considerable impact on the patient as well as society, as the disease typically affects individuals in their most productive years.  An increasing prevalence of diabetes is occurring throughout the world.  In addition, this increase appears to be greater in developing countries. The etiology of this increase involves changes in diet, with higher fat intake, sedentary lifestyle changes, and decreased physical activity. [3, 4] Patients with diabetes often develop ophthalmic complications, such as corneal abnormalities, glaucoma, iris neovascularization, cataracts, and neuropathies. The most common and potentially most blinding of these complications, however, is diabetic retinopathy, [5, 6, 7] which is, in fact, the leading cause of new blindness in persons aged 25-74 years in the United States. Approximately 700,000 persons in the United States have proliferative diabetic retinopathy, with an annual incidence of 65,000. An estimate of the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in the United States showed a high prevalence of 28.5% among those with diabetes aged 40 years or older.  (See Epidemiology.) The exact mechanism by which diabetes causes retinopathy remains unclear, but several theories have been postulated to explain the typical course and history of the disease. [9, 10] See the image below. In the initial stages of diabetic retinopathy, patients are generally asymptomatic, but in more advanced stages of the disease patients may experience symptoms that include floaters, distortion, and/or blurred vision. Microaneurysms are the earliest clinical sign of diabetic retinopathy. (See Clinical Presentat Continue reading >>
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
A degenerative eye disease that occurs in people with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy can lead to severe vision loss or blindness if left untreated. Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy remains incurable. However, it is treatable and preventable. In order to detect and prevent diabetic retinopathy, it is important that diabetes patients understand the causes of the disease, as well as any additional risks to the health of their eyes. For people with diabetes, high blood sugar is a serious health problem. Because diabetics are unable to adequately absorb and process sugar, too much blood sugar can lead to kidney, heart, nerve, and eye damage. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the tiny blood vessels, known as capillaries, within the retina are damaged. In patients with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), the walls of the capillaries weaken and develop microaneurysms, or tiny bulges protruding from the blood vessels. Eventually these microaneurysms begin to leak blood and fluid into the retina, causing vision loss. In patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), not only are there progressively more microaneurysms, but new, abnormal capillaries begin to develop within the retina. As these blood vessels spread throughout the retina, they often begin to grow into the jelly-like substance (vitreous) that fills the center of the eye. Ultimately, this abnormal growth causes the capillaries to shut down, leading to vision loss and, in some cases, retinal detachment. Diabetic Retinopathy Risk Factors Patients with type I and type II diabetes are at a high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. How much the disease progresses and spreads is in almost direct correlation to how long the patient has had diabetes and how long they have gone without consistent eye Continue reading >>
Diabetic RetinaScreen is a new, government-funded screening programme, offering free, regular diabetic retinopathy screening to people with diabetes aged 12 and over. Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes which affects the small blood vessels in the lining at the back of the eye. This lining is called the retina. The retina helps to change what you see into messages that travel along the sight nerve to the brain. A healthy retina is necessary for good eyesight. Diabetic retinopathy can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or become blocked and damage your sight. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy will not affect the sight, but if the changes get worse, eventually the sight will be affected. The categories of retinopathy are: Background retinopathy Background retinopathy occurs in the early stages and damage is limited to tiny bulges (microaneurysms) in the blood vessel walls. Although these can leak blood and fluid they do not usually affect vision. Pre-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is detected This is where there are changes detected in the retina that do not require treatment but need to be monitored closely as there is a risk that they may progress and affect the eyesight. A referral will be made to an Ophthalmology Clinic. It is important that you attend this appointment. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy Proliferative diabetic retinopathy occurs where fragile new blood vessels form on the surface of the retina over time. These abnormal vessels can bleed or develop scar tissue causing severe loss of sight. Diabetic macular oedema Diabetic macular oedema occurs where leaky blood vessels affect the part of the retina called the macula. If fluid leaks from these vessels and affects the centre of the macula, the sight will be af Continue reading >>
Author: Abdhish R Bhavsar, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP more... Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a major medical problem throughout the world. Diabetes causes an array of long-term systemic complications that have considerable impact on the patient as well as society, as the disease typically affects individuals in their most productive years. [ 1 ] An increasing prevalence of diabetes is occurring throughout the world. [ 2 ] In addition, this increase appears to be greater in developing countries. The etiology of this increase involves changes in diet, with higher fat intake, sedentary lifestyle changes, and decreased physical activity. [ 3 , 4 ] Patients with diabetes often develop ophthalmic complications, such as corneal abnormalities, glaucoma, iris neovascularization, cataracts, and neuropathies. The most common and potentially most blinding of these complications, however, is diabetic retinopathy, [ 5 , 6 , 7 ] which is, in fact, the leading cause of new blindness in persons aged 25-74 years in the United States. Approximately 700,000 persons in the United States have proliferative diabetic retinopathy, with an annual incidence of 65,000. An estimate of the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in the United States showed a high prevalence of 28.5% among those with diabetes aged 40 years or older. [ 8 ] (See Epidemiology.) The exact mechanism by which diabetes causes retinopathy remains unclear, but several theories have been postulated to explain the typical course and history of the disease. [ 9 , 10 ] See the image below. Fundus photograph of early background diabetic retinopathy showing multiple microaneurysms. Federman JL, Gouras P, Schubert H, et al. Systemic diseases. Podos SM, Yanoff M, eds. Retina and Vitreous: Textbook of Ophthalmology. 1994. Continue reading >>
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that occurs in people who have diabetes. It causes progressive damage to the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious sight-threatening complication of diabetes. Diabetes interferes with the body's ability to use and store sugar (glucose). The disease is characterized by too much sugar in the blood, which can cause damage throughout the body, including the eyes. Over time, diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when these tiny blood vessels leak blood and other fluids. This causes the retinal tissue to swell, resulting in cloudy or blurred vision. The condition usually affects both eyes. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they will develop diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include: Seeing spots or floaters Blurred vision Having a dark or empty spot in the center of your vision Difficulty seeing well at night When people with diabetes experience long periods of high blood sugar, fluid can accumulate in the lens inside the eye that controls focusing. This changes the curvature of the lens, leading to blurred vision. However, once blood sugar levels are controlled, blurred distance vision will improve. Patients with diabetes who can better control their blood sugar levels will slow the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy. Often the early stages of diabetic retinopathy have no visual symptoms. That is why the American Optometric Association recommends that everyone with diabetes have a comprehensive dilated eye examination once a year. Early detection and treatment can limit the potential for significant vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. T Continue reading >>
On this page: Diabetes and diabetic retinopathy • DR symptoms • Types of diabetic eye disease • Who gets diabetic retinopathy? • Minorities and diabetic eye disease • When is DR a disability? • Eye exam assistance program • Prevention • Diabetic retinopathy videos Diabetic retinopathy — vision-threatening damage to the retina of the eye caused by diabetes — is the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans. The good news: Diabetic retinopathy often can be prevented with early detection, proper management of your diabetes and routine eye exams performed by your optometrist or ophthalmologist. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the United States has the highest rate of diabetes among 38 developed nations, with approximately 30 million Americans — roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population between the ages of 20 and 79 — having the disease. About 90 percent of Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which develops when the the body fails to produce enough insulin — a hormone secreted by the pancreas that enables dietary sugar to enter the cells of the body — or the body becomes resistant to insulin. This causes glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream to rise and can eventually damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, an unhealthful diet and physical inactivity. Unfortunately, the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes has increased significantly in the United States over the past 30 years. According to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in December 2015, there were 1.4 million new cases of diabetes reported in the U.S. in 2014. Though this annual number is d Continue reading >>
Tweet Diabetic retinopathy is the most common form of diabetic eye disease. Diabetic retinopathy usually only affects people who have had diabetes (diagnosed or undiagnosed) for a significant number of years. Retinopathy can affect all diabetics and becomes particularly dangerous, increasing the risk of blindness, if it is left untreated. The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy is known to increase with age as well with less well controlled blood sugar and blood pressure level. According to the NHS, 1,280 new cases of blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy are reported each year in England alone, while a further 4,200 people in the country are thought to be at risk of retinopathy-related vision loss. All people with diabetes should have a dilated eye examination at least once every year to check for diabetic retinopathy. What is diabetic retinopathy? Diabetic retinopathy occurs when changes in blood glucose levels cause changes in retinal blood vessels. In some cases, these vessels will swell up (macular oedema) and leak fluid into the rear of the eye. In other cases, abnormal blood vessels will grow on the surface of the retina. Unless treated, diabetic retinopathy can gradually become more serious and progress from ‘background retinopathy’ to seriously affecting vision and can lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy includes 3 different types: What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy? Like many conditions of this nature, the early stages of diabetic retinopathy may occur without symptoms and without pain. An actual influence on the vision will not occur until the disease advances. Macular oedema can result from maculopathy and affect vision occurs if leaking fluid causes the macular to swell. New vessels on the retina can prompt bleeding, which can also Continue reading >>
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
People with diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak. Or they can close, stopping blood from passing through. Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina. All of these changes can steal your vision. Stages of diabetic eye disease There are two main stages of diabetic eye disease. NPDR (non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy) This is the early stage of diabetic eye disease. Many people with diabetes have it. With NPDR, tiny blood vessels leak, making the retina swell. When the macula swells, it is called macular edema. This is the most common reason why people with diabetes lose their vision. Also with NPDR, blood vessels in the retina can close off. This is called macular ischemia. When that happens, blood cannot reach the macula. Sometimes tiny particles called exudates can form in the retina. These can affect your vision too. If you have NPDR, your vision will be blurry. PDR (proliferative diabetic retinopathy) PDR is the more advanced stage of diabetic eye disease. It happens when the retina starts growing new blood vessels. This is called neovascularization. These fragile new vessels often bleed into the vitreous. If they only bleed a little, you might see a few dark floaters. If they bleed a lot, it might block all vision. These new blood vessels can form scar tissue. Scar tissue can cause problems with the macula or lead to a detached retina. PDR is very serious, and can steal both your central and peripheral (side) vision. Continue reading >>
Diabetic Retinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments
Diabetic retinopathy: Causes, symptoms, and treatments Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina caused by complications of diabetes mellitus. The condition can lead to blindness if left untreated. Early blindness due to diabetic retinopathy (DR) is usually preventable with routine checks and effective management of the underlying diabetes . Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is blood vessel damage in the retina that happens as a result of diabetes. It is the leading cause of blindness in the United States (U.S.). Symptoms include blurred vision, difficultyseeing colors, floaters, and even total loss of vision. People with diabetes should have their vision checked at least once annually to rule out DR. There are retinal surgeries that can relieve symptoms, but controllingdiabetes and managing early symptoms are the most effective ways to prevent DR. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that can lead to total blindness without treatment. DR is a complication of diabetes and a leading cause of blindness in the United States (U.S.). The retina is the membrane that covers the back of the eye. It is highly sensitive to light. It converts any light that hits the eye into signals that can be interpreted by the brain. This process produces visual images, and it is how sight functions in the human eye. Diabetic retinopathy damages the blood vessels within the retinal tissue, causing them to leak fluid and distort vision. Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR): This is the milder form of diabetic retinopathy and is usually symptomless. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR): PDR is the most advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy and refers to the formation of new, abnormal blood vessels in the retina. Approximately 5.4 percent of people in the U.S. aged over 40 Continue reading >>