Diabetic Retinopathy
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Persons with diabetes may notice changes in their vision, a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Edward Hill explains what this condition does and why it occurs in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma.  Diabetic retinopathy is the main threat to vision.

The earliest phase of the disease is known as background diabetic retinopathy.  In this phase, the arteries in the retina become weakened and leak, forming small, dot-like hemorrhages.  These leaking vessels often lead to swelling or edema in the retina and decreased vision.

The next stage is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy.  In this stage, circulation problems cause areas of the retina to become oxygen-deprived or ischemic.

New, fragile, vessels develop which can hemorrhage easily.  Blood may leak into the retina and vitreous, causing spots or floaters, along with decreased vision. 

Patients who suffer from diabetic retinopathy complain of cloudy vision, sensitivity to glare, blind spots, peripheral visual field loss, reduced night vision, reduced color discrimination and double vision.

Diabetic retinopathy can be prevented with good blood glucose control and regular eye care.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.