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Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy: Introduction

People with diabetic retinopathy can experience a variety of symptoms. Diabetic retinopathy generally develops slowly over a period of months as ongoing high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels of the retina. In early stages of diabetic retinopathy, there may be no noticeable symptoms. However, changes in the retina and the blood vessels of the retina may be seen during an eye examination. Because symptoms may not be apparent until late stages of diabetic retinopathy, regular eye examinations are vital to catching the condition in its early stage.

Ongoing high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels of the retina and leads to leaking or bleeding of the blood vessels or the growth of abnormal blood vessels. These processes can prevent light from reaching the retina. This leads to the typical symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, such as changes in vision, including blurred vision. There also may be eye pain. Other symptoms include seeing spots and a sudden loss of vision. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can also come and go.

In more advanced stages of diabetic neuropathy, serious complications can result, including permanent vision loss, retinal detachment and blindness.

There are other complications of diabetes that can commonly accompany diabetic retinopathy. These include diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease....more about Diabetic Retinopathy »

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Diabetic Retinopathy includes the 6 symptoms listed below:

Research symptoms & diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy:

Diabetic Retinopathy: Symptom Checkers

Review the available symptom checkers for these symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy:

Diabetic Retinopathy: Symptom Assessment Questionnaires

Review the available Assessment Questionnaires for the symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy:

Diabetic Retinopathy: Complications

Review medical complications possibly associated with Diabetic Retinopathy:

Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing of medical conditions related to Diabetic Retinopathy:

  • Ordinary doctor eye exam - not fully adequate; may not detect non-advanced cases.
  • Dilated eye exam - best performed by eye specialist
  • Eye test (vision test) - not useful; only detects very advanced cases of retinopathy.
  • Dye test (fluorescein angiogram) - This is a special eye that that shows retinal circulation.
  • Amsler grid - A special test that helps you identify what parts of your visual field are damaged.
  • more tests...»

Research More About Diabetic Retinopathy

Do I have Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy: Medical Mistakes

Diabetic Retinopathy: Undiagnosed Conditions

Diseases that may be commonly undiagnosed in related medical areas:

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical tests related to Diabetic Retinopathy:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy?

The list of other diseases or medical conditions that may be on the differential diagnosis list of alternative diagnoses for Diabetic Retinopathy includes:

Diabetic Retinopathy: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

More about symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy:

More information about symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy and related conditions:

Other Possible Causes of these Symptoms

Click on any of the symptoms below to see a full list of other causes including diseases, medical conditions, toxins, drug interactions, or drug side effect causes of that symptom.

Article Excerpts About Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy:

Keep your eyes healthy: NIDDK (Excerpt)

You may not get any signs of diabetes retina damage or you may get one or more signs:

  • Blurry or double vision

  • Rings, flashing lights, or blank spots

  • Dark or floating spots

  • Pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes

  • Trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes.
(Source: excerpt from Keep your eyes healthy: NIDDK)

Are You at Risk for Diabetic Eye Disease: NEI (Excerpt)

Often there are none in the early stages of the disease. Vision may not change until the disease becomes severe. Nor is there any pain.

Blurred vision may occur when the macula--the part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision--swells from the leaking fluid. This condition is called macular edema. If new vessels have grown on the surface of the retina, they can bleed into the eye, blocking vision. But, even in more advanced cases, the disease may progress a long way without symptoms. That is why regular eye examinations for people with diabetes are so important. (Source: excerpt from Are You at Risk for Diabetic Eye Disease: NEI)

Facts About Diabetic Retinopathy: NEI (Excerpt)

Diabetic retinopathy often has no early warning signs. At some point, though, you may have macular edema. It blurs vision, making it hard to do things like read and drive. In some cases, your vision will get better or worse during the day. (Source: excerpt from Facts About Diabetic Retinopathy: NEI)

Facts About Diabetic Retinopathy: NEI (Excerpt)

As new blood vessels form at the back of the eye, they can bleed (hemorrhage) and blur vision. The first time this happens it may not be very severe. In most cases, it will leave just a few specks of blood, or spots, floating in your vision. They often go away after a few hours.

These spots are often followed within a few days or weeks by a much greater leakage of blood. The blood will blur your vision. In extreme cases, a person will only be able to tell light from dark in that eye. It may take the blood anywhere from a few days to months or even years to clear from the inside of your eye. In some cases, the blood will not clear. You should be aware that large hemorrhages tend to happen more than once, often during sleep. (Source: excerpt from Facts About Diabetic Retinopathy: NEI)

Diabetic Retinopathy as a Cause of Symptoms or Medical Conditions

When considering symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy, it is also important to consider Diabetic Retinopathy as a possible cause of other medical conditions. The Disease Database lists the following medical conditions that Diabetic Retinopathy may cause:

- (Source - Diseases Database)

Diabetic Retinopathy as a symptom:

For a more detailed analysis of Diabetic Retinopathy as a symptom, including causes, drug side effect causes, and drug interaction causes, please see our Symptom Center information for Diabetic Retinopathy.

Diabetic Retinopathy: Onset and Incubation

Onset of Diabetic Retinopathy: After 20 years of diabetes, nearly all patients with type 1 diabetes and >60% of patients with type 2 diabetes have some degree of retinopathy.

Medical articles and books on symptoms:

These general reference articles may be of interest in relation to medical signs and symptoms of disease in general:

About signs and symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy:

The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible signs and symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy. This signs and symptoms information for Diabetic Retinopathy has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of Diabetic Retinopathy signs or Diabetic Retinopathy symptoms. Furthermore, signs and symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of any signs or symptoms and whether they are indeed Diabetic Retinopathy symptoms.


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