Diabetic Retinopathy animation

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of vision loss and can lead to blindness.



Diabetic retinopathy educational video animation

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects more than 420 million people worldwide. If left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, including the eyes. These diabetic eye complications can include cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.



Usually affecting both eyes, it occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels on the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located on the back inner-wall of the eye.

Eye doctors commonly separate Diabetic Retinopathy into 2 stages: Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR).

In NPDR, the earliest stage of diabetic retinopathy, microaneurysms occur. They are small areas of balloon-like swelling in the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. As they increase in number, they tend to cluster and leak fluid into the complex retinal layers.

As the disease progresses, the retinal blood vessels may become irregularly shaped, dilated and leaky. Small hemorrhages may occur and discrete whitish-yellow fat residue can accumulate as a result of the leakage.

The damaged blood vessels can also lose their ability to transport blood, depriving areas of the retina of their nourishing blood and oxygen supply.

Sometimes, the macula, the part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision, begins to swell, causing diabetic macular edema, or DME — a vision-blurring condition. DME is the most common cause of vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy and it requires treatment.

Common treatments for these early-to-mid-stage diabetic complications include:  eye drops, laser photocoagulation and painless injections of medications into the eye.

As more and more blood vessels are damaged and blocked, the retina becomes stressed and sends out signals for oxygen and nourishment, triggering the growth of new blood vessels. This is called neovascularization, the hallmark of the advanced stage – Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy.

These new blood vessels are weak and fragile and have thin, delicate walls. They will often bleed into the vitreous — the transparent gel-like tissue filling the inside of the eyeball.

Blood in the vitreous causes symptoms ranging from barely noticeable, to complete vision loss in the affected eye. Common symptoms of a vitreous hemorrhage include:  small, dark floating spots in the vision; a reddish tint; or random-shaped darkened sections of the vision.

Common treatments for PDR include: heavy laser photocoagulation and intravitreal medication injections.

In the severe, uncontrolled stage of PDR, scar tissue, as a result of neovascularization and bleeding, can contract, causing the retina to pull away from underlying tissue – this is called Retinal Detachment and can lead to permanent vision loss. This type of retinal detachment must be repaired surgically.

Diabetic retinopathy can’t always be controlled. However, good blood sugar and blood pressure control, regular eye exams and early intervention for vision problems will decrease the risk of severe vision loss.

Macular Degeneration Animation

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the macula.




Macular Degeneration cross-section imageAbout macular degeneration.

The macula is the part of the eye that allows us to see fine detail. When the macula is damaged, the central vision may become blurry, distorted or dark.

The macula is located on the retina, the light-sensitive, back, inner lining of the inside of the eye. A healthy macula gives us the sharp, central vision we need for “straight-ahead” activities such as driving or reading.

Macular Degeneration is the result of gradual deterioration of the tissues in the macula. When the macula is damaged, the central vision may become blurry, distorted or dark.



AMD is typically classified into two general types: Dry and Wet. More than 8 out of 10 cases of macular degeneration fall into the “Dry” classification.

Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down over time. Debris from the pigment layer and surrounding tissues accumulates and forms deposits called drusen. The presence of drusen is the first sign of early, DRY AMD. Early symptoms can range from undetectable, to blurring and distortion of the central vision. In the advanced stages of this painless disease, complete central vision loss can occur.

Wet AMD, is more serious than Dry. This form of macular degeneration occurs when the accumulating drusen cause inflammation. The inflamed cells release growth factors which cause abnormal blood vessels to form under the retina. These fragile vessels leak fluid and blood into the layers of the macula, which is where the term “wet” macular degeneration came from. Wet AMD can lead to rapid decrease in vision and if left untreated, can cause permanent vision loss.

There are several options available to retinal specialists for the treatment of wet AMD. Currently, there are no FDA approved treatments for dry macular degeneration. However, most eye doctors will offer a proactive plan with numerous preventative measures, including lifestyle adjustments and nutritional recommendations, all aimed at slowing the progression of this vision-robbing eye disease.

How vision works | an animated guide to the human eye functions

The Eye and Vision – How vision works




How vision works in the human eye | an animationThe eye is a complex optical system – very similar to a camera.

Vision begins when light enters the eye through the cornea, a powerful focusing surface. The cornea is what gives us clear vision. From there, it travels through clear aqueous fluid, and passes through a small aperture in the iris called the pupil.

As muscles in the iris relax or constrict, the pupil changes size to adjust the amount of light entering the eye. Light rays are bent and focused through the lens, and proceed through a clear jelly-like substance in the center of the eye called vitreous humor, which helps give the eye form and shape. When light rays finally land on the retina, the part of the eye similar to film in a camera, they form an upside-down image. The retina converts the image into an electrical impulse that travels along the optic nerve to the brain, where it is interpreted as an upright image.



This animation above depicts the light rays’ path through the eyeball as they pass through the cornea, the eye’s lens and vitreous and striking the surface of the retina, the back inner “wallpaper” in the globe of the eyeball.

All of these structures of the eye mentioned here are critically important in the process of visual acuity. Any disease or condition that affects any of these eye components can cause vision decrease or loss, or even blindness.

Legal blindness is a very depressing and costly problem in the United States and the rest of the world. Low vision can lead to depression and decrease the ambulatory abilities of its victims. It is important to treat these secondary complications as well as the eye disease or conditions. Eye disease illustrations can be seen here.