[Diabetic retinopathy]

Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2005 Apr;49(2):217-27. doi: 10.1590/s0004-27302005000200007. Epub 2005 Sep 12.
[Article in Portuguese]


Diabetic retinopathy is a frequently observed complication in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, specially in patients with long term disease and poor glicemic control. Irreversible visual loss appears at the final stages of diabetic retinopathy and it is considered one of the most tragic of diabetic complications. It is also considered an important factor of morbidity and has a high economical impact once it is the leading cause of blindness. The pathophysiology of the retinal microvascular alterations is related to the chronic hyperglycemia that leads to the following circulatory disturbances: loss of vascular tonus, increase in vascular permeability, edema and exudation, with vascular obstruction and ischemia that stimulates neovascularization, which may lead to fibrous retraction and vitreous hemorrhages with retinal detachment. Recent studies have indicated that the strict glicemic and blood pressure controls are effective in reducing or blocking the progression of retinopathy. Up to now no pharmacological agents have shown to be effective in preventing or reducing neovascularization and visual loss. Presently, the most effective available treatment for proliferative retinopathy is laser photocoagulation. Further studies are needed to obtain new products and technologies that could effectively prevent or block retinopathy progression.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Retinopathy* / etiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy* / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / complications
  • Retina / anatomy & histology
  • Retinal Vessels / anatomy & histology
  • Risk Factors