With an objective to focus attention on the importance of keeping our eyes healthy – the month of November is observed as “Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month” in the United States. The campaign aims to generate widespread public awareness about diabetic retinopathy – a serious diabetes complication that affects the eyes – and encourage people to seek treatment for vision problems related to the condition. Regarded as one of the leading causes of blindness in working-age Americans, diabetic retinopathy involves chronic high blood sugar levels that damage the retina’s blood vessels. According to the National Eye Institute, over 7 million Americans are impacted by diabetic retinopathy. It is estimated that about one third of people with diabetes don’t know that they have this eye disease and are at risk for vision loss and other related health problems. One of the biggest concerns with this diabetic eye disease is that there no early warning signs. The condition can affect anyone who has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The longer a person has diabetes and the less controlled the blood sugar level is, the more likely a person can develop this eye complication. Early diagnosis, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care can help reduce the risk of this eye condition and prevent vision  loss in the long run. If left undiagnosed or untreated, it can lead to serious vision problems like vitreous hemorrhage, glaucoma, retinal detachment and even blindness. For correct clinical documentation, ophthalmologists can rely on the services of an established medical billing and coding company.

The 2020 month-long observance aims to spread word on the effects of diabetes on vision, risk factors, and treatment options. It aims to educate people about the need to undergo regular or early eye examinations for better treatment and possible cure. Diabetic retinopathy is a condition caused by a specific damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). Too much sugar level in the blood can lead to the blockage of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, cutting off its blood supply. Due to this, the eye attempts to grow new blood vessels and these blood vessels don’t develop properly and tend to leak easily. Generally, diabetic retinopathy involves two different types – non-proliferative and proliferative – involving various levels of severity within each specific type. Non-proliferative involves no new growth of abnormal blood vessels and proliferative means retinopathy causing the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels in the retina. In most cases, chronic diabetes patients have the high risk of developing this eye condition. In fact, the risk of the eye condition may increase and depend on the duration of diabetes, high blood pressure/cholesterol levels, poor control of blood sugar levels, tobacco use and pregnancy. There may not be any specific symptoms in the early stages. However, as the condition develops, patients may experience several symptoms like – vision loss, blurred/fluctuating vision, impaired color vision, spots or dark strings floating in your vision (floaters) and dark or empty areas in the vision.

The 2020 Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month campaign in November will help prevent blindness, promote awareness and education of the damaging effects that the condition may have on vision and eye health. This eye condition is best diagnosed with a comprehensive dilated eye exam. As part of the exam, drops will be placed in the eyes that help widen (dilate) the pupils and allow the eye specialist to have a better view inside your eyes. Eye specialists, as part of the eye examination, will look for abnormal blood vessels, growth of new blood vessels and scar tissue, swelling, blood or fatty deposits in the retina, abnormalities within the optic nerve, and retinal detachment. Eye specialists may also test the level of vision, measure the eye pressure and look for evidence of cataracts. In addition, several diagnostic tests like – fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography may also be conducted. Treatment for this condition depends largely on the type of diabetic retinopathy and its severity. In case of mild or moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, patients may not need any specific treatment. However, the eye specialist will closely monitor the eyes to determine when any specific treatment modality needs to be administered. For advanced or proliferative diabetic retinopathy, surgical treatment options like photocoagulation, pan-retinal photocoagulation, vitrectomy and injections into the eye will be done. Maintaining a healthy diet, consuming regular medications, exercising, quitting the habit of smoking, and undergoing regular eye exams also help significantly prevent the occurrence of diabetic eye disease in the long run. Endocrinologists, diabetologists or other eye specialists treating different types of diabetic retinopathy need to correctly document the diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures performed with the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding services offered by reputable providers can help these physicians in using the right ICD-10 codes for their medical billing process.

ICD-10 Codes for Diabetic Retinopathy

Type 1 Diabetes, Non-proliferative Retinopathy

  • E10.31 Type 1 diabetes mellitus with unspecified diabetic retinopathy
  • E10.32 Type 1 diabetes mellitus with mild nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy
  • E10.33 Type 1 diabetes mellitus with moderate nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy
  • E10.34 Type 1 diabetes mellitus with severe nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy

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 nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy
  • E11.33 Type 2 diabetes mellitus with moderate nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy
  • E11.34 Type 2 diabetes mellitus with severe nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy

Type 2 Diabetes, Proliferative Retinopathy

  • 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 history behind this month-long campaign dates back to 1998 when Prevent Blindness founded Diabetic Eye Disease Month to promote awareness concerning diabetic eye disease and to support patients. Over the years, the scope of this campaign got widened with several healthcare organizations across the world sharing valuable resources to spread the word about how people with diabetes can protect their vision. A wide range of activities are arranged as part of the campaign which include vision screening test for diabetes, posting an eye exam reminder on social media, sharing infographics, infocards and animated videos across popular social media platforms.

Join the Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Campaign This November. Undergo Regular Eye Exams and Take Steps to Protect Your Vision.