0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 54.211.190.232. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
JAMA Patient Page |

Retinopathy FREE

Janet M. Torpy, MD, Writer; Tiffany J. Glass, MA, Illustrator; Richard M. Glass, MD, Editor
JAMA. 2005;293(1):128. doi:10.1001/jama.293.1.128.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

The retina lines the back two thirds of the eye and is responsible for receiving visual images. Retinopathy means disease of the retina. There are several types of retinopathy but all involve disease of the small retinal blood vessels. Signs of retinopathy (see photograph) can be seen when the retina is viewed through the pupil with an ophthalmoscope. The January 5, 2005, issue of JAMA includes an article about retinopathy as an early sign of cardiovascular disease.

HYPERTENSIVE RETINOPATHY

Hypertension (high blood pressure) and vascular (blood vessel) diseases can affect the small blood vessels of the retina just as they can affect other blood vessels. Retinopathy may therefore be an indicator of vascular damage elsewhere in the body. Visual changes sometimes develop due to advanced retinopathy and may be a sign of undiagnosed or poorly controlled hypertension. Although rare, blindness may occur.

DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

The most common type of retinopathy is related to diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy can be proliferative (growing) or nonproliferative (not growing) regarding the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina. Nonproliferative retinopathy is much more common and usually requires no treatment. In proliferative retinopathy, abnormal blood vessels start to grow when the existing blood vessels close off. The proliferative type of retinopathy can lead to impaired vision. Regular eye examinations are important to check for progression of retinopathy from nonproliferative to proliferative stages.

PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

Preventing retinopathy starts with early diagnosis and treatment of conditions that cause retinopathy. For persons with diabetes, good control of blood glucose levels, proper control of high blood pressure, and regular medical examinations are crucial to preventing retinopathy. Persons with diabetes should have an annual eye examination including pupil dilation for the best possible view of the retina. Good blood pressure control is essential for anyone with hypertension. Individuals with eye disorders or other health problems that put them at risk for visual impairment should see an ophthalmologist (doctor with specialized education for diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases). Once retinopathy is detected, early treatment is essential to prevent blindness. Several forms of treatment are available for persons with proliferative retinopathy.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

  • Blurry vision

  • Double vision

  • "Floaters" or spots in vision

  • Eye pain and redness that does not resolve

  • Decreased peripheral vision

FOR MORE INFORMATION

INFORM YOURSELF

To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. A Patient Page on causes of visual impairment was published in the October 15, 2003, issue.

Sources: American Diabetes Association; National Eye Institute; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Diabetes Education Program; American Heart Association

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. Any other print or online reproduction is subject to AMA approval. To purchase bulk reprints, call 718/946-7424.

TOPIC: EYE HEALTH

Tables

References

CME
Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Topics
PubMed Articles