Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy with hard exudates and fibrovascular membrane attached to the Optic Disc © 2019 American Academy of Ophthalmology

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy​



What is diabetic retinopathy?

The changes that Occur in the retina in patients with diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus damages small blood vessels. These damaged blood vessels won’t act normally and cause:

1- Reduce amount of blood and oxygen that reach to retinal cells, causing retinal ischemic changes.

2- Formation of small vascular aneurysm.

3- Leakage of fluid and lipids from damaged blood vessels. These materials will deposit on the retina.

4- Ischemic areas in the retina will secret special enzymes and factors such as VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor). These factors also increase the leakage of fluid and exudates from damaged blood vessels and also will stimulate the formation of abnormal fragile blood vessels that are called Neovascularization. These abnormal blood vessels can be formed either in the retina, around the optic disc or in the anterior segment around the iris. Formation of them around the iris can cause Neovascular glaucoma.

5- Formation of Fibrovascular membrane on the retina that with time can cause tractional retinal detachment.



What are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy ?

These are the most common diabetic retinopathy symptoms :

1- Blurred vision

Can be due to ischemic changes of the retina and macular edema.

2- Acute loss of vision

Which can be due to Vitreous hemorrhage, tractional retinal detachment or retinal hemorrhages at the macula and fovea.

3- Eye floaters

Can be due to Vitreous hemorrhages or tractional retinal detachment.

4- Eye pain

Can be due to neovascular glaucoma.



What are the Signs of Diabetic Retinopathy?

Signs of Diabetic RetinopathyDiabetic retinopathy can be divided into Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy.

The difference between them is the presence of neovascularization and fibrovascular membrane in Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy.


Signs of Non-Proliferative Stage of Diabetic Retinopathy

1- Microanuerysm.

2- Retinal Hemorrhages.

3- Hard exudates.

4- Cotton-wool spots.

5- Dilatation, tortuosity and beading of retinal veins.

Signs of Proliferative Stage of Diabetic Retinopathy

Neovascularization at the optic disc which is called NVD.

2- Retina Neovascularization away from the disc which is called NVE.

3- Iris Neovascularization which is called NVI or Rubeosis.

4- Fibrovascular membrane with tractional retinal detachment.



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