July 30, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

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What exactly is a retina?

The retina is the area at the back of your eye that receives light. Impulses are then transmitted by the optic nerve to the brain. In order to do its job the retina utilizes a system of small blood vessels.

Diabetic retinopathy is progressive damage to the blood vessels that supply blood to the retina.

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. Source: Mayo Clinic.

“Your chances of developing retinopathy increases the longer you have diabetes. If you have had diabetes for 10 years, you have a 50 percent chance of having retinopathy; if you have had diabetes for 20 years you are almost certain to have background retinopathy….it may just mean that there are early signs of damage to your retinal blood vessels.”

Source: Diabetes: A Practical Guide to Managing Your Health by Rosemary Walker & Jill Rodgers

The good news is that according to the American Diabetes Association, while diabetics are at greater risk for retinopathy, “most people who have diabetes have nothing more than minor eye disorders. ”

Types of Retinopathy:

Nonproliferative: per Merck Manual: produces increased capillary permeability, microaneurysms, hemorrhages, exudates, and macular edema and causes vision loss if untreated.

Proliferative:per Merck Manual: is characterized by abnormal new vessel formation, which occurs on the vitreous surface of the retina and may extend into the vitreous cavity and cause vitreous hemorrhages. Vision loss with proliferative retinopathy may be severe.

Some Complications of Retinopathy:

Glaucoma: is a group of conditions resulting in optic nerve damage. High pressure inside your eye is usually what causes this damage.

Cataracts:Is a clouding of the lens. It is a slowly progressive disease.

Retinal Detachment: This is considered a medical emergency and occurs when the retina detaches from the blood vessels that support the retina itself.

Vitreous Hemorrhage: per Mayo Clinic: The new blood vessels may bleed into the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of your eye. If the amount of bleeding is small, you might see only a few dark spots or floaters. In more severe cases, blood can fill the vitreous cavity and completely block your vision. Vitreous hemorrhage by itself usually doesn’t cause permanent vision loss. The blood often clears from the eye within a few weeks or months.

Macular Edema: Caused when amaged blood vessels leak fluid and lipids onto the macula


Diabetic Eyes . com: The website of Dr. A. Paul Chous; eye doctor, diabetes educator, and author of the highly-acclaimed book Diabetic Eye Disease: Lessons From A Diabetic Eye Doctor.

Take Dr. Chous’ Eye-Q-Test.

And remember to protect your vision with controlled blood sugar levels and yearly eye exams.

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2 Responses to “Retinopathy”
  1. Tina says:

    Thanks very much for sharing this. I will mention it again in the Friday news post. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to stop by and post this.

  2. I think that this would be something very appropriate for your website to talk about. A very young girls’ soccer team played in a league that they dominated. The girls won every game, even against other girls that were older than them. Their coach made a bold move and put them into the boys league. This was met with some criticism, but as the girls did exceptionally well, it made people stop and think about what was fair and right concerning girls and boys. The main girl in this film has juvenile diabetes. She demonstrates that people are very able to live a normal life even with diabetes. And the film also teaches that people should not be discriminated against based on gender, and these girls overcame that discrimination. Watch the trailer at and see what you think.


    Alayna Ferrin
    Public Relations
    Cobalt Communications Group


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