Diabetic features are the evidence of specific complications that present as the result of having Diabetes Mellitus for an extended period. Diabetics that have the disease for ten or more years usually develop a myriad of other health ailments due to frequent episodes of high blood sugar. In addition, blood pressure, cholesterol, and serum lipid levels influence susceptibility for other ailments. When blood sugar becomes too high, it damages nerves, organs, and muscles throughout the body. When the glucose level returns to normal, the immediate danger is over, but the structures in the body have been damaged.

As Diabetes is a systemic disease, every cell in the body is vulnerable to detriment. Specifically, a person can experience nerve damage in the brain or eye, which can affect the ability to see. This damage and consequential loss of function is Diabetic Retinopathy, which medical professionals classify as impaired vision resulting from damage to the retina as a complication of Diabetes Mellitus.

A large number of Diabetics will endure some degree of vision impairment in their lifetime as the disease progresses. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 24,000 Diabetics will become legally blind from Diabetic Retinopathy every year. Furthermore, this disease is the main cause of vision loss for individuals between the ages of twenty-five and seventy-four.Diabetic features are not the symptoms an individual experiences due to the impairment, but rather the physicality’s that represent the disease. For instance, double vision or loss of vision is a symptom, while bleeding on the retina and swelling are Diabetic features.


Clinical Features of Diabetic Retinopathy


Clinical features of Diabetic Retinopathy vary depending on what type of Diabetic Retinopathy an individual has. Retinopathy can occur as Proliferative or Non-proliferative,contingent upon the presence or absence of abnormal new blood vessels originating from the retina. Patients with ProliferativeRetinopathy develop blood vessels on the retina, while patients with Non-proliferativeRetinopathy experience blood vessels within the retina. Ophthalmologists also refer to Non-proliferative Retinopathy as Background Retinopathy because the lesions serve as a background for the new vessels that mature on the retinal surface. At initial onset, the retina will cultivate microaneurysms (tiny blood clots) that progress into hemorrhages, which are nicknamed “dots and blots” for their appearance under magnification (according to Professor C.N. Chua at MRCOphth.

Other Diabetic features include exudates, which are round, waxy, yellow deposits that often ensue in clusters. The nucleus of the exudate may contain a leaky microaneurysm. A soft exudate or “Cotton Wool Spot” are deposits found in the posterior retina where the layer of nerve fibers is quite thick. The name stems from the appearance of the exudates, which resemble white fluffy spots.


Diabetic Features – Symptoms


Diabetic features that flourish in, on, or around the eyes, can have different levels of symptoms from onset through progression. Some individuals may not have or notice symptoms initially, which is why the disease can advance rapidly before a problem is detected. Early signs of Retinopathy can include dilated veins(Venous Dilation), bulging veins (Venous Beading), or dilated capillaries. These signs help Ophthalmologists determine the type of Retinopathy and the treatment for it. In the initial phases, treatment, including laser surgeries and scatter treatments are available, but after a certain point, the damage is irreparable.