Diabetic retinopathy in pregnancy: a review

Elman, K.D.; Welch, R.A.; Frank, R.N.; Goyert, G.L.; Sokol, R.J.

Obstetrics and Gynecology 75(1): 119-127


ISSN/ISBN: 0029-7844
PMID: 2404223
Document Number: 366949
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness between the ages of 24-64 years. The first half of this period corresponds to peak fertility and the childbearing years. The effects of pregnancy on diabetic retinopathy are unclear, but recent studies suggest that pregnancy may be less harmful to the retina of the diabetic subject than was thought previously. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that at least some women experience a worsening of their retinopathy as a result of pregnancy. Thus, careful ophthalmic evaluation and follow-up are essential for the pregnant woman with diabetes. This should include a minimum of one complete eye examination every trimester and within 3 months postpartum. Color fundus photography and laser treatment are safe, whereas fluorescein angiography, although commonly used to evaluate retinal vascular disease, can usually be avoided during pregnancy.

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