What is the prognosis of diabetic retinopathy?

Updated: Sep 02, 2021
  • Author: Abdhish R Bhavsar, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Approximately 8,000 eyes become blind yearly because of diabetes. The treatment of diabetic retinopathy entails tremendous costs, but it has been estimated that this represents only one eighth of the costs of Social Security payments for vision loss. This cost does not compare to the cost in terms of loss of productivity and quality of life.

The Early Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy Study has found that laser surgery for macular edema reduces the incidence of moderate visual loss (doubling of visual angle or roughly a 2-line visual loss) from 30% to 15% over a 3-year period. The Diabetic Retinopathy Study has found that adequate scatter laser panretinal photocoagulation reduces the risk of severe visual loss (< 5/200) by more than 50%. [28, 29]

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