What is the importance of fasting glucose and HbA1c in the workup of diabetic retinopathy?

Updated: Sep 02, 2021
  • Author: Abdhish R Bhavsar, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) are important laboratory tests that are performed to help diagnose diabetes. The HbA1c level is also important in the long-term follow-up care of patients with diabetes and diabetic retinopathy.

The Data From an Epidemiological Study on the Insulin Resistance Syndrome (DESIR) Study evaluated diabetic retinopathy in 235 individuals with diabetes and 227 individuals with impaired fasting plasma glucose levels. [32] The study found that the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy at 10 years was higher in individuals with a fasting plasma glucose level of more than 108 mg/dL and HbA1c level of more than 6%. Controlling diabetes and maintaining the HbA1c level in the 6-7% range are the goals in the optimal management of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. If the levels are maintained, then the progression of diabetic retinopathy is reduced substantially, according to The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial.

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