Outsource Strategies International (OSI) is a U.S. based medical billing and coding company with vast experience in providing top quality billing and coding services to diverse clients. We provide reliable services for all healthcare specialties.

In today’s podcast, Natalie Tornese, Senior Group Manager at OSI discusses about - Diabetes and the related eye disease and ICD-10 codes.

In this Episode

00.21 – Introduction to diabetes and its effect on Eyes

Diabetes is a complex metabolic disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels.

01.20 – Top three diabetes-related eye diseases and their ICD-10 codes

Discussion on the top three diabetes-related eye diseases and their related ICD-10 codes

01.31 – Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a general term for all disorders of the retina caused by diabetes. There are two major types of retinopathy – non-proliferative and proliferative.

02.58 - Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain

04.25 - Cataract

Even though any person can get cataract, the probability of getting affected by this condition increases 60 times if a person is diabetic, compared to non-diabetic persons.

05.12 – Preventing and reducing the risk of diabetes

Diabetic people are at increased risk of experiencing a variety of eye problems. It is important to have regular eye checkups and comprehensive eye exams, including dilation, every year.

05.42 – Managing diabetes or blood sugar level.

Managing diabetes or blood sugar level is one of the best ways to lower the risk of diabetes- related eye problems.

Hello everyone and welcome to our podcast series. This is Natalie Tornese from Outsource Strategies. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about Diabetes and the related eye diseases along with their ICD-10 codes.

Diabetes is a complex metabolic disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Sugar levels build up in your blood if you don’t have enough insulin to break it down. This is called hyperglycemia which can negatively affect every part of your body including your eyes. In most cases, blurry vision is one of the initial signs of diabetes. Your vision may become blurry as the fluid may leak into the lens of your eyes. This makes the lens swell and change shape which make it hard for the eyes to focus. The best way to keep your eyes healthy and prevent diabetes-related eye disease or avoid it from getting worse is to keep your diabetes under control. Taking diabetic medications (as prescribed) you know would definitely help with that, staying physically active, focusing on a healthy diet and refraining from smoking can help control blood sugar levels which in turn would help reduce your risk of diabetic eye disease.

So, I am going to discuss the top three diabetes related eye diseases and also include a transcript along with this podcast outlining including the specific coding that would go along with these conditions.

Retinopathy - Diabetic retinopathy is a general term for all disorders of the retina caused by diabetes. There are two major types of retinopathy – non-proliferative and proliferative. Non-proliferative means no abnormal blood vessels. In non-proliferative retinopathy, the most common form of retinopathy, capillaries at the back of the eye balloon and form pouches. Non-proliferative retinopathy can move through three stages (mild, moderate, and severe), as more and more blood vessels become blocked. In some stages, the capillary walls may lose their ability to control the passage of substances between the blood and the retina. Fluid can leak into the part of the eye where focusing occurs, the macula. When the macula swells with fluid, a condition called macula edema can occur where your vision blurs and can be lost entirely.  In the cases of proliferative retinopathy, new abnormal blood vessels start growing in the retina. These new vessels are weak and can leak blood, blocking vision.

Typically, retinopathy caused by diabetes may not display any symptoms especially during its early stages. However, 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.

Glaucoma – Glaucoma is another diabetes related eye disease. It is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain. This optic nerve damage often is caused by an abnormally high pressure in the eyes and may result in partial vision loss or blindness. Leading causes of irreversible blindness, glaucoma currently affects more than 3 million people in the United States. The National Eye Institute estimates that this number will reach 4.2 million by the end of 2030 – reporting a 58 percent increase. The disease usually affects both eyes, although one may be more severely affected than the other. The eye disease can occur at any age, but is more common among older adults, above the age group of 60. Related symptoms include blurred vision, severe headache, eye pain, eye redness, patchy blind spots in your peripheral or central vision, halos around the eyes and tunnel vision in the advanced stages. Treatments may focus on lowering the eye pressure and may include – prescription eye drops such as beta blockers, Prostaglandins, oral medications, and surgery or a combination of both. Surgery options include – laser therapy, drainage tubes, filtering surgery and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS).

Cataract – The other condition is a cataract. Even though any person can get cataract, the probability of getting affected by this condition increases 60 times if a person is diabetic. Rapid shifts in blood sugar levels may often cause the vision to become blurry in people with diabetes. This temporary blurring can diffuse into the lens of the eye and cause it to swell, thus changing the focal point of the eye, resulting in the blurred vision. Over time, repeated swelling of this type is thought to damage the lens and cause it to become cloudy, resulting in a cataract. Common symptoms of this condition include- blurred vision and glared vision. Treatment for cataract mostly involves surgical removal of the clouded lens, and replacing it with a new artificial one.

Diabetes are at increased risk of experiencing a variety of eye problems. It is important to have regular eye checkups and comprehensive eye exams, including dilations, every year. It is vital for patients to disclose all their symptoms to the ophthalmologist including all the medications they consume. Blurred vision can be a minor problem which can be easily prevented through eye drops or a new prescription for eyeglasses. In most cases, early treatment can correct the problem or prevent it from getting worse.

Managing diabetes or blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to lower the risk of diabetes- related eye problems. This means keeping the blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible which can be done by engaging in regular physical activity, eating healthy, and carefully following your physician’s instructions regarding insulin or other diabetes medications.

I hope this helps but always remember that documentation and a thorough knowledge of payer regulations and guidelines is critical to ensure accurate reimbursements for the services performed.