Topic/Purpose: This handout will describe diabetic eye disease and complications
All people with diabetes need to get a dilated eye exam at least once a year. Diabetes is a serious disease that causes problems like blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and amputations (Pottinger, 1997). But by taking good care of yourself through diet, exercise, and special medications, you can control diabetes. Diabetic eye disease, a complication of diabetes, can be treated before vision loss occurs.
What is Diabetic eye disease?
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with Diabetes may face as a complication of this disease (Medline Plus [MP], 2005). All can cause severe vision loss or even blindness.
Diabetic eye disease may include:
*Damage to the blood vessels in the retina
*Clouding of the eyes lens
*Increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision (Pottinger, 1997).
What is the most common diabetic eye disease?
Damage to the blood vessels in the retina (retinopathy) is the most common eye disease related to diabetes (National Institute of Health [NIH], 2005). Blood vessels in the eye may swell and leak fluid or abnormal new blood vessels may grow on the surface of the retina. These changes may result in vision loss or blindness.
What are the symptoms?
Often there are none in the early stages of the disease. Vision may not change until the disease becomes severe. There is no pain involved. Blurred vision may occur when the part of the retina that provides sharp central vision swells fro the leaking fluids. If the new vessels have grown on the surface of the retina, they can bleed into the eye, blocking your vision (NIH, 2005). The disease may progress a long way without symptoms. This is...