Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

March 28, 2019 — by Thomas Byrd, MD
Tags: Diabetic Retinopathy

Obstructed visionThere are various eye conditions and diseases that can develop as a person ages. These conditions can compromise the health and function of the eyes. The only way to adequately diagnose and treat eye problems such as these is through professional eye care services that include comprehensive eye exams.

One eye disease that should be of particular concern to patients with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. While diabetic retinopathy may not produce obvious symptoms at first, it will eventually interfere with vision, and can even lead to blindness if it is not treated in a timely manner.

Here, Dr. Thomas Byrd discusses some of the most common diabetic retinopathy symptoms so our Detroit, MI patients know when it’s time to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.

Blurred Vision

In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy may cause vision to appear blurred. The effects may not be severe, but patients might feel like they are looking out a dirty window.

Focusing on objects and fine details is likely to be more difficult, as everything will probably look a little fuzzy.

Blurred vision is a symptom of various eye conditions, so it does not necessarily mean that a patient has diabetic retinopathy, but it is definitely a sign that patients should have their eyes examined.


Another potential symptom of diabetic retinopathy is floaters. Floaters are spots or strings of darkness that seem to float through a person’s field of sight. It will probably look as though there is actually a small object stuck in the eye and obstructing the vision.

Like blurry vision, floaters can be a symptom of a number of eye diseases, so patients with floaters should schedule an eye exam to determine the cause.

Dark Spots in the Field of Vision

Dark spots are very similar to the spots that may appear as floaters, but they are likely to be much larger. There may be several spots in the field of vision where patients just see darkness, almost as though they are looking at a picture and there are holes in it.

Impaired Color Vision

Another way diabetic retinopathy can compromise vision is by interfering with the way colors are perceived. Impaired color vision may be subtle, with colors seeming a little more dull than usual. Or symptoms can be more severe, making it difficult to distinguish certain colors.

Even if colors suddenly seem just a little off, patients should trust their instincts and schedule an eye examination as soon as possible.

Fluctuating Vision

Patients should understand that, with diabetic retinopathy and any other eye disease, vision may fluctuate. While patients may experience blurred vision or any of the other abovementioned symptoms at certain times, other times the vision may seem fine.

For instance, patients may wake with compromised vision, but notice that eyesight improves throughout the day. Even if symptoms come and go, they are still likely a sign of a problem and should be reported to an eye doctor.

Contact Us

If you have noticed any changes in the way your eyes feel or function, it is important to have them examined as soon as possible. If you would like to schedule a comprehensive examination with Dr. Thomas Byrd, or are just interested in learning more about the eye care services offered at our clinic, contact us at your earliest convenience or call (313) 383-1300.

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