Diabetic Retinopathy in a 56-Year-OldMan

May 1, 2002
Leonid Skorin, Jr, DO
Leonid Skorin, Jr, DO

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of legal blindness in personsbetween the ages of 20 and 65 years. In this 56-year-old man with a 20-yearhistory of type 2 diabetes, multiple, scattered intraretinal (dot-blot) hemorrhagesand superficial nerve fiber layer (splinter) hemorrhages can be seen.An occasional Roth spot-an intraretinal hemorrhage with a white center thatrepresents a fibrin thrombus which occludes a ruptured blood vessel-is alsoevident. Numerous yellow, waxy, hard exudates are seen between the innerplexiform and inner nuclear layers of the retina. Cotton-wool spots are alsopresent, although no neovascularization is present.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of legal blindness in personsbetween the ages of 20 and 65 years. In this 56-year-old man with a 20-yearhistory of type 2 diabetes, multiple, scattered intraretinal (dot-blot) hemorrhagesand superficial nerve fiber layer (splinter) hemorrhages can be seen.An occasional Roth spot--an intraretinal hemorrhage with a white center thatrepresents a fibrin thrombus which occludes a ruptured blood vessel--is alsoevident. Numerous yellow, waxy, hard exudates are seen between the innerplexiform and inner nuclear layers of the retina. Cotton-wool spots are alsopresent, although no neovascularization is present.Patients with diabetes need to have their eyes examined by an ophthalmologistat least yearly to monitor for ocular complications.(Case and photo courtesy of Leonid Skorin, Jr, DO.)