, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 199-208
Date: 03 Jan 2014

The changing role of the endocrinologist in the care of patients with diabetic retinopathy

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Abstract

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common microvascular complication of diabetes and still represents a leading cause of visual impairment in working age in industrialized countries. It develops following non proliferative (mild, moderate, or severe) and proliferative stages, the earliest being often asymptomatic and with diabetic macular edema potentially developing at any of these. The prevalence and incidence of DR increase with diabetes duration and worsening of metabolic and blood pressure control. Current approaches to prevent and/or treat DR include optimized control of blood glucose and blood pressure and screening for early identification of high risk, though still asymptomatic retinal lesions. Results from the recent clinical trials suggest a role for blockers of the renin–angiotensin system (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers) and for fenofibrate in reducing progression and/or inducing regression of mild to moderate non proliferative DR. Intra-vitreal administration of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents was shown to reduce visual loss in more advanced stages of DR, especially in macular edema.