Diabetes is, therefore, the most important systemic (noninfective) disease that gives rise to blindness. Many diabetics remain free of eye problems, but a diabetic is 25 times more likely to become blind than other members of the population.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs in both insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent diabetics and affects all age groups. The patient may or may not give a history of diabetes, although the longer the duration of the diabetes, the more likely the patient is to have retinopathy. Remember that although the patient may describe the onset of visual loss as gradual, sight threatening diabetic retinopathy may still be present.
When taking an eye history from diabetic patients, it is especially important to note the duration of the diabetes and the age of onset, because the incidence of diabetic retinopathy is most related to the duration of diabetes.
Risk factors for diabetic retinopathy:
• Duration of diabetes
• Poor diabetic control
• Renal impairment
Measures to improve prognosis in diabetic retinopathy:
● Control blood sugar
● Control hypertension
● Control hyperlipidaemia
● Stop smoking
N.R. Galloway,W.M.K. Amoaku, P.H. Galloway and A.C. Browning. Common Eye Diseases and their Management, Third Edition. Springer. London. 2006; 165-166
P T Khaw, P Shah, A R Elkington. ABC of Eyes, Fourth Edition. BMJ Books. 2004; 69-70