November is observed as “Diabetes Eye Disease Awareness Month” in the United States – a perfect time to educate people on how diabetes affects vision and what proactive steps need to be taken to monitor eye health and protect vision. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans. The condition is a risk factor for developing glaucoma, as well as for developing cataracts, but the most common and debilitating vision problem experienced by diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the retinal blood vessels in the eye, causing them to bleed and swell, ultimately distorting vision. Reports suggest that diabetes retinopathy affects 7.7 million Americans, and this number is projected to increase to about 14.6 million people by the end of 2030. Initially, diabetic eye disease may cause no specific symptoms or only mild vision problems. With a comprehensive dilated eye exam, these problems can be easily detected and treated. Consuming diabetic medications (as prescribed), staying physically active, focusing on a healthy diet and refraining from smoking can help control blood sugar levels which in turn may help reduce your risks of diabetic eye disease. For correct clinical documentation of this condition, physicians can benefit from the services of medical billing outsourcing companies.

Diabetic retinopathy is a general term for all disorders of the retina caused by diabetes. There are two major types of retinopathy – nonproliferative and proliferative – involving different levels of severity within each type. Nonproliferative means no abnormal blood vessels and proliferative means retinopathy with new abnormal blood vessels present. Typically, retinopathy caused by diabetes may not display any symptoms during its early stages. As the condition progresses, you will notice symptoms such as – spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters), blurred or fluctuating vision, impaired color vision, dark or empty areas in your vision and vision loss.

The 2018 campaign is a unique platform to spread awareness about the symptoms and risk factors associated with the condition and educate people about the need to undergo regular/early eye exams for better treatment and possible cure.

Diabetic retinopathy is best diagnosed with a comprehensive dilated eye exam. For this, drops placed in your eyes widen (dilate) your pupils to allow your doctor to better view inside your eyes. The drops may cause your nearby vision to blur until they wear off, several hours later. As part of the eye exam, ophthalmologists may check for abnormal blood vessels, swelling, blood or fatty deposits in the retina, retinal detachment and other abnormalities in your optic nerve. In addition, eye specialists may also test your vision, measure your eye pressure to test for glaucoma and check for evidence of cataract. Several diagnostic tests like – fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography will also be conducted.

Treatment for this condition may mainly depend on the type and severity of retinopathy. In most cases, mild or moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy can be managed with good blood sugar control. On the other hand, advanced treatment modalities like – Photocoagulation, Pan-retinal photocoagulation, vitrectomy and medication injections (called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors) into the vitreous in the eye will be opted if you have proliferative diabetic retinopathy or macular edema. Endocrinologists, diabetologists or other eye specialists offering treatment for diabetic retinopathy need to carefully document the diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures using appropriate medical codes. Medical billing and coding services offered by reliable providers can help physicians in using the right ICD-10 codes for their medical billing process. ICD-10 Codes for Diabetic Retinopathy include –

Type 1 Diabetes, Non-proliferative Retinopathy

E10.31 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with unspecified diabetic retinopathy
E10.32 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy

  • E10.329 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy without macular edema

E10.33 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy

  • E10.339 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy without macular edema

E10.34 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy

  • E10.341 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy with macular edema
  • E10.349 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy without macular edema

Type 1 Diabetes, Proliferative Retinopathy

E10.35 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy

  • E10.351 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy with macular edema
  • E10.352 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy with traction retinal detachment involving the macula
  • E10.353 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy with traction retinal detachment not involving the macula
  • E10.354 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy with combined traction retinal detachment and rhegmatogenous retinal detachment
  • E10.355 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with stable proliferative diabetic retinopathy
  • E10.359 – Type 1 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy without macular edema

Type 2 Diabetes, Non-proliferative Retinopathy

E11.31 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with unspecified diabetic retinopathy
E11.32 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy

  • E11.321 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy with macular edema
  • E11.329 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy without macular edema

E11.33 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy

  • E11.331 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy with macular edema
  • E11.339 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy without macular edema

Type 2 Diabetes, Proliferative Retinopathy

E11.34 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy

  • E11.341 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy with macular edema
  • E11.349 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy without macular edema

E11.35 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy

  • E11.351 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy with macular edema
  • E11.352 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy with traction retinal detachment involving the macula
  • E11.353 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy with traction retinal detachment not involving the macula
  • E11.354 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy with combined traction retinal detachment and rhegmatogenous retinal detachment
  • E11.355 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with stable proliferative diabetic retinopathy
  • E11.359 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus with proliferative diabetic retinopathy without macular edema

The main goal behind this diabetic eye disease awareness campaign is to prevent vision loss before it occurs. Conducting regular eye exams, and having good control of your blood sugar and blood pressure levels is one of the best ways to prevent the occurrence of this condition. Diabetic people, (even if they have good vision), must make annual comprehensive dilated eye exams a part of their self-management routine to identify any retinal changes.

Join the campaign against diabetes vision loss. Get your eyes examined at regular intervals to identify vision problems.