Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of visual loss in both the elderly and the working-age population. Danaei et al. recently reported in “The Lancet” that age-standardized adult diabetes prevalence has reached 9.8% in men and 9.2% in women. Approximately 24% of these patients are already diagnosed with different forms of diabetic retinopathy but 28% will remain undiagnosed until the onset of complications.
The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy grows proportionally to the duration of diabetes, so all the patients with type 1 diabetes and 60% of those with type 2 diabetes will be diagnosed with a form of diabetic retinopathy after 20 years of disease .
The diabetic retinopathy affects the retinal microvascularization, leading to progressive retinal ischemia, neovascularization and fibro- cellular proliferation. Many patients are referred to a retina specialist in late phases of diabetic retinopathy evolution, when severe complications like vitreous hemorrhage and tractional retinal detachment are already installed. On the other hand, 5% of the patients with diabetic retinopathy, appropriate ophthalmic care, and strict metabolic control still develop ocular complications requiring a surgical treatment.