• Vol. 29 No. 6, 745–752
  • 15 November 2000

Diabetic Retinopathy



Introduction: To provide a review of the current standard of care in diabetic eye management.

Methods: A non-systematic evidence-based review utilising available data and consensus statements on the subject matter.

Results: Diabetes mellitus affects some 9.0% of Singaporeans, and more than 60% of patients with diabetes in this population remained undiagnosed. Diabetic retinopathy is an important complication among diabetic patients and adverse visual outcome associated with this condition can be reduced by more than 95% by taking measures including good glycaemic control, timely and appropriate laser therapy, and vitrectomy surgery when indicated. An important aspect of management is the accurate disease classification which is essential for prognostication, appropriate follow-up schedule, and timing of therapeutic intervention purposes.

Conclusion: Diabetic retinopathy will remain a significant problem if the current trend in diabetes among Singapore residents prevails. As the severe visual impairment associated with diabetic retinopathy can be largely prevented with appropriate and timely intervention, the major challenge to the health care providers today is the identification and education of patients with diabetes, and the enrollment of these patients in a life-long comprehensive ophthalmic management programme in order to minimise visual morbidity.

Diabetes mellitus affects some 9% of Singaporeans. Studies had shown that virtually all insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (Type 1) and 85% of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (Type 2) patients would develop retinopathy after 20 years of disease.

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