Resources for Diabetic Retinopathy

October 21, 2024 | 5 min

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in working age adults; over 40% of patients with diabetes are diagnosed with some form of retinopathy (Diabetes Care 2000). This high prevalence in the population makes retinopathy an important presentation in ophthalmology practice for the medical clerk to understand. Learning diagnosis, examination, management, and proper surveillance can be challenging, but a curated list of resources is attached below to help you master diabetic retinopathy in your clerkship!

Left Eye Fundus Image of Diabetic retinopathy. Dot and Blot hemorrhages observed throughout the fundus.

  1. Tim Root's OphthoBook

The Tim Root OphthoBook is a free online textbook targeted at providing high yield yet easy to understand content for medical students. Chapter 4: Beginner’s guide to the retina provides an excellent overview of diabetic retinopathy and other retinal pathologies. The rest of the text is an invaluable introductory resource for ophthalmology, providing an essential overview of eye anatomy and pathophysiology. A link to this resource can be found here.

  1. The National Eye Institute

The National Eye Institute provides a summary of the key points around diabetic retinopathy in their “At a glance” resource. This text is perfect for a brief refresher of the relevant clinical details surrounding this condition without diving into excess detail. A link to this resource can be found here.

  1. Provincial health service eye care pathway

Screening and eye care guidelines may vary province to province, and it’s important to know what the standard of practice is in your area. Many provinces publish resources around eye health screening and diabetic retinopathy, which may provide guidance. As an example, Alberta Health Services provides a diabetes eye care clinical pathway found here.

  1. Clinical practice guidelines, Diabetes Canada

Diabetes Canada provides clinical practice guidelines developed by an expert committee. These guidelines set a national standard for the management of diabetic retinopathy, as well as helpful key messages and recommendations for quick reference. A link to this resource can be found here.

  1. The University of Iowa

The University of Iowa provides a unique perspective on diabetic retinopathy in that it is written by a medical student for medical students. This article is useful for those looking for a targeted guide aimed at the medical student level, from an author with unique insight into that perspective. A link to this resource can be found here.

  1. Dr. Jon Walker’s textbook: Diabetic Retinopathy for the Comprehensive Ophthalmologist

For those who are inclined towards textbooks, Dr. Jon Walker provides an excellent text on diabetic retinopathy for the comprehensive ophthalmologist. The text provides several wonderful reference photos and a wealth of information but may surpass what the average clerk would need to know. A link to this resource can be found here.

  1. Videos from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

If you prefer videos over reading, The American Academy of Ophthalmology has a catalogue of short educational videos on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. A link to this resource can be found here.

  1. Online Lectures

This particular lecture takes the form of a video from Drs. Hamdan, Goyal, and Law, which provides a didactic overview similar to traditional classroom learning. Moreover, this lecture is part of a larger series which can act as a resource for broader ophthalmic knowledge.

  1. Geeky medics; additional photos of retinal exam

Like many of the resources on this list, Geeky Medics provides a good overview of the etiology, examination, and management of diabetic retinopathy. This resource adds value for the ophthalmology clerk with excellent reference photos of the retinal exam and pan-retinal photocoagulation, an intervention used in the management of proliferative diabetic retinopathy. The site also provides a useful summary of some of the signs relevant to diabetic retinopathy. A link to this resource can be found here.

Image from the following website (Accessed October 21, 2023):