Diabetic Disease of the Eye in Canada: Consensus Statements from a Retina Specialist Working Group

Abstract Despite advances in systemic care, diabetic disease of the eye (DDE) remains the leading cause of blindness worldwide. There is a critical gap of up-to-date, evidence-based guidance for ophthalmologists in Canada that includes evidence from recent randomized controlled trials. Previous guidance has not always given special consideration to applying treatments and managing DDE in the context of the healthcare system. This consensus statement aims to assist practitioners in the field by providing a spectrum of acceptable opinions on DDE treatment and management from recognized experts in the field. In compiling evidence and generating consensus, a working group of retinal specialists in Canada addressed clinical questions surrounding the four themes of disease, patient, management, and collaboration. The working group reviewed literature representing the highest level of evidence on DDE and shared their opinions on topics surrounding the epidemiology and pathophysiology of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema; diagnosis and monitoring; considerations around diabetes medication use; strategic considerations for management given systemic comorbidities, ocular comorbidities, and pregnancy; treatment goals and modalities for diabetic macular edema, non-proliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment; and interdisciplinary collaboration. Ultimately, this work highlighted that the retinal examination in DDE not only informs the treating ophthalmologist but can serve as a global index for disease progression across many tissues of the body. It highlighted further that DDE can be treated regardless of diabetic control, that a systemic approach to patient care will result in the best health outcomes, and prevention of visual complications requires a multidisciplinary management approach. Ophthalmologists must tailor their clinical approach to the needs and circumstances of individual patients and work within the realities of their healthcare setting.