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Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is a common complication with Diabetes where the production or use of insulin levels are not regulated resulting in fluctuating blood sugar levels. Diabetic Retinopathy results in 90% of the cases of type 1 Diabetes and 65% of the cases of type 2 diabetes. Retinopathy is the damage or hemorrhaging of small blood vessels of the retina. It is a non-inflammatory disease of the retina. There are many types of retinopathy. Non Proliferative Retinopathy refers to the condition where the damaged or leaking vessels do not spread. Symptoms include vision spots, loss of vision in some cases, floaters - floating regions of blurred vision or loss of fine vision. On the other hand, Proliferative Retinopathy refers to the spread of the damaged retina - specifically the rupture of the newly formed blood vessels resulting in sudden loss of vision.


Hardening of the retinal arteries is known as Arteriosclerotic Retinopathy. Increased pressure in the affected region may result in the retina detaching itself from the back of the eye that can cause partial or total blindness.

Hypertensive Retinopathy: Hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels of retina resulting in Hypertensive Retinopathy which has symptoms that include blurred vision or decreased visual perception.


Risk Factors for Retinopathy


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Hypercoagulability (abnormal tendency of the blood to clot - thrombosis), Thrombophilia
  • Hyperlipidemia (Abnormally high blood lipid levels)
  • Hyperviscosity
  • Trauma

Diagnosis and Treatment

Retinal Specialists may use ophthalmoscope or Fluorescein Angiography for a detailed evaluation of the eye condition. Laser Surgery is usually the first choice of treatment to seal the bleeding blood vessels in the retina (retinal hemorrhages). Treatment of diabetic retinopathy would also involve treating the overall condition. Nutritional supplements like Vitamins A, C, E and Lutein may also be tried.


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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: November 11, 2019