The five most important Diabetic Retinopathy symptoms at a glance
Here we describe in detail the various symptoms of this eye condition associated with diabetes. From visual deterioration and reduced visual acuity to distortions in the field of vision, flickering, flashes, dark spots and colour perception problems.
These are the most important diabetic retinopathy symptoms at a glance:
Visual deterioration and distorted or blurred vision
The diabetic retinopathy symptom “visual deterioration and distorted or blurred vision” is a characteristic sign of diabetic retinopathy.
Those affected may experience a gradual deterioration in their visual acuity, accompanied by distortion and blurring in their field of vision.
The impaired perception results from damage to the tiny blood vessels in the retina due to diabetes. The changes can cause images to be perceived as unclear or distorted, which can severely impair the ability to recognise objects and visually absorb information.
The consequences of this symptom can be significant:
- Impaired visual acuity and distorted or blurred vision can have a significant impact on the daily activities and quality of life of those affected.
- The ability to recognise clear details can be severely limited.
- Reading, recognising faces or navigating in the environment is significantly more difficult.
This symptom can affect independence and the ability to participate in various activities, which in turn can have a negative impact on patients’ mental well-being.
Flickering or flashes in the field of vision
Patients may experience flickering lights or flashes of light in their field of vision. The symptom is caused by disturbances in the blood vessels of the retina. The abnormalities in these vessels can lead to an irregular supply to the retinal nerve cells.
This in turn can lead to irritation of the nerve cells, which is perceived by those affected as flickering light phenomena or lightning-like flashes of light
The unexpected light phenomena or flashes in the field of vision can severely disrupt the normal visual experience and impair the ability to see clearly.
The visual perception of objects and surroundings can become distorted, affecting everyday functioning and the ability to take in information – similar to the diabetic retinopathy symptom “visual deterioration and distorted or blurred vision” described above.
Scotomas – dark or blank spots in the field of vision
This symptom is characteristic of diabetic retinopathy and results from the vascular abnormalities that permeate the retina.
These abnormalities lead to insufficient blood flow in certain areas of the retina, resulting in an incomplete supply to the retinal nerve cells. The result is dark or empty areas in the peripheral or central field of vision known as scotomas.
These dark or blank areas can impair the ability to recognise objects, people or obstacles.
Those affected may have difficulty gaining a complete and accurate visual perception of their surroundings – with all the consequences this has for quality of life.
Difficulties with colour perception
Those affected may have problems recognising and distinguishing colours correctly. This phenomenon results from the effects of vascular abnormalities on the retinal structures responsible for the accurate perception and processing of colour information.
The consequences of this symptom can be manifold:
- The impaired ability to perceive colour can significantly impair the visual experience.
- Those affected may have difficulty perceiving nuances and differences between colours.
- This in turn makes it difficult to identify objects, recognise signals or interpret environmental elements.
Overall, this could lead to confusion or uncertainty, as the ability to perceive colour accurately plays an essential role in the recognition and interpretation of visual information.
Changes in the peripheral visual field
The symptom “changes in the peripheral visual field” is a characteristic manifestation of diabetic retinopathy. Affected people may notice that they experience changes in their ability to perceive objects and movements at the periphery of their field of vision.
These changes are caused by damage to the retinal vessels, which can lead to an inadequate supply to the peripheral retinal nerve cells.
The consequences of this symptom are similar to the consequences of the symptom “impaired ability to perceive colour”. They include
- Impaired perception of the peripheral visual field may impair the ability to comprehensively visually register the environment.
- Affected persons may have difficulty perceiving objects or movements in lateral vision, which can impair safety when navigating, recognising people or vehicles and spatial orientation.
- This could lead to uncertainty in the environment and impair everyday functioning.
Caution: In some cases, the symptoms overlap with the symptoms of the diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa.