Purpose of Review: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a major cause of visual impairment and blindness throughout the world. Microvascular changes have long been regarded central to disease pathogenesis. In recent years, however, retinal neurodegeneration is increasingly being hypothesized to occur prior to the vascular changes classically associated with DR and contribute to disease pathogenesis. Recent Findings: There is growing structural and functional evidence from human and animal studies that suggests retinal neurodegeneration to be an early component of DR. Identification of new therapeutic targets is an ongoing area of research with several different molecules undergoing testing in animal models for their neuroprotective properties and for possible use in humans. Summary: Retinal neurodegeneration may play a central role in DR pathogenesis. As new therapies are developed, it will be important to develop criteria for clinically defining retinal neurodegeneration. A standardization of the methods for monitoring neurodegeneration along with more sensitive means of detecting preclinical damage is also needed.
- Diabetic retinopathy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism