Sunday, January 15, 2006

diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a retinal disease caused by DIABETES MELLITUS, which includes hemorrhages, overgrowth of blood vessels, scar tissue, and edema of the retina. Retinopathy usually appears 10 years or more after the onset of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy can be detected in 65 percent of people who have had diabetes for 15 years and in 90 percent of people who have had diabetes for 30 to 40 years. Diabetic retinopathy is responsible for 10 percent of cases of newly reported blindness and 20 percent of blindness in people from 45 to 75 years of age.
The only symptom of diabetic retinopathy is a loss of central and/or side vision, which may occur gradually or abruptly. Treatment for diabetic retinopathy may involve laser therapy. In photocoagulation of the retina by the xenon arc or argon laser, an intense beam of light is directed through the pupil of the eye into a small spot on the retina. The light is then transformed into heat thereby coagulating the new vessels, which helps to prevent a hemorrhage into the vitreous. This prevention is necessary because bleeding in the vitreous blocks the transmission of light and also allows fibrous tissue to form, which may cause a traction retinal detachment. To remove the diseased vitreous it is necessary to perform a vitrectomy. Hypophysectomy, surgical removal of the pituitary gland, was formerly used to treat diabetic retinopathy, but is rarely performed as diabetic retinopathy treatment now. Because of limited surgical methods, efforts are turned toward the prevention of diabetic retinopathy.
Currently there is no uniformly satisfactory treatment of diabetic retinopathy. However, good control of diabetes in the first years of the disease may minimize the amount of retinopathy. Panretinal photocoagulation in which a large amount of laser is used on the retina will help to decrease the incidence of diabetic retinopathy.
Scherer, 1. C. Introductory Medical-Surgical Nursing, 3rd ed. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1982.
Steinberg, F. U. Care of the Geriatric Patient, 6th ed. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1983.


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