Diabetic retinopathy, particularly in the more advanced stages, poses many difficult psychosocial problems and demands major adjustments by the patient. Our review of this literature has identified specific problems relevant to patient care, future research, and public policy. For example, proliferative retinopathy often leads to at least partial visual impairment, psychiatric symptoms, and difficulties with glycemic control. Partial visual impairment appears to cause as much psychosocial disruption as severe blindness. This suggests that most rehabilitation programs that serve the legally blind may come too late in the course of this illness. This review emphasizes the paucity of past research on psychosocial aspects of diabetic retinopathy and raises some questions for future research.

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