Disease Management by Prevention: The Prospects for Diabetic Retinopathy
Emily Y. Chew
Diabetic retinopathy is a significant cause of visual loss in developed countries. Data from epidemiological studies and controlled clinical trials have resulted in treatment strategies, which are highly successful in preventing blindness. These strategies involve measures that require both education and compliance of the individual with diabetes mellitus and the education of physicians and paramedical staff who deliver care to these patients. This paper presents the classification of diabetic retinopathy and the treatment strategies, both the preventive measures and the active treatment modalities used for diabetic retinopathy. Persons with diabetes should be invited from the first day of diagnosis to be active partners working towards the prevention of diabetic complications. The management of patients with diabetes includes essential medical preventive measures such as tight glucose level and blood pressure control and the lowering of serum cholesterol levels to successfully decrease the risk of microvascular complications, namely diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy and nephropathy. Persons with diabetes should also be aware of the importance of screening for diabetic retinopathy and the beneficial effects of timely laser photocoagulation and other surgical interventions.
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