Before we start talking about Diabetic retinopathy ICD 10, just have a look at the condition by itself.

Diabetic retinopathy is a long term condition that comes as a result of changes in the retina’s blood vessels. Sometimes the complication starts without the presence of symptoms or just mild vision issues, but exist the possibility that become blindness.

In the USA the illness is the main origin of blindness in working age people.

The Main problem is that the longer a person has diabetes, the risk of having complications like diabetic retinopathy augment overtime. Prevention is basic to deal with these issues, and keeping the blood sugar levels at bay is the best manner to avoid these kinds of illnesses.
When people have high levels of sugar in the blood, the capillaries of the eyes can be affected provoking problems in the patient vision.

The diabetic code (ICD-9-CM category 250) have to be sequenced as the principal diagnosis when a person have retinopathy as a consequence of diabetes and then the secondary diagnosis would be the aforementioned.

Also it is important to emphasis that the doctor should establish the cause/effect between both conditions before the retinopathy can be coded as a diabetic outcome.

It is useful to know some of the codes of the different conditions coming from Diabetes. Some complications are coded 250.5 and other ophthalmic manifestations codes are different, like for example::

  1. Iritis/iridis rubeosis (364.42)
  2. Cataract (366.41)
  3. Glaucoma (365.44)
  4. Blindness (369.00 to 369.9)
  5. Macular edema (362.07; also assign a code for the diabetic retinopathy, 362.01 to 362.06);
  6. Orbital osteomyelitis (376.03)
  7. retinopathy (362.01 to 362.07)
  8. rubeosis iridis (364.42).1

Diabetic Retinopathy ICD 10 Demonstration

Diagnosis Of The Diabetic Retinopathy

The way that this condition is diagnosed is through a examination of the dilated eye in order to check for abnormal or leaking blood vessels, cataracts,  macular edema, new blood vessel growth of fatty deposits in the retina, scar tissue, vitreous hemorrhage, damaged optic nerve and retinal detachment.

Another methods to diagnose the illness are optical coherence tomography and Fluorescein angiography.

How to treat it

The treatment of the diabetic retinopathy will depends on the level of complication and the advance of it. It is also important  to acknowledge that  a proficient  glycemic level observation could help to delay the progression of the condition.

For instance Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy in most of the cases only requires constant monitoring without any particular treatment.

Photocoagulation or Focal laser  application are techniques that sometimes are used to treat  proliferative diabetic retinopathy in order to slow or completely stop the outflow of blood and fluid in the eye.

Another treatment is laser photocoagulation which can be used to treat macular edema by elaborating a Modified Grid at the posterior pole, and it is commonly utilized for the first phases of proliferative retinopathy.


People that suffer from both kinds of Diabetes I and II are exposed to diabetic retinopathy. To understand the magnitude of the condition is useful to notice that between 40 and 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes had some level of diabetic retinopathy, and after 20 years of having diabetes II, 60% of the people had some degree of this complication.

In modern days the issue can be bounded for the access to more developed medicines and also with prevention methods that recently have evolved drastically. Again we cannot put enough emphasis in the importance of blood sugar control.

Diabetic Retinopathy ICD 10 Coding Tutorial

How To Manage It

Today, if the person is treated before that the retina gets too damaged they have a great chance to keep their vision.

The most effective manners to achieve this is by the injection of corticosteroids or anti-VEGF, laser surgery or vitrectomy.

These treatments are useful to stop or slow the vision loss, but they not cure the condition by itself.

Laser surgery could cause retinal tissue damage, and it is important to be cautious before to make the decision to get these procedure done.

That is why many professional recommend the use the aforementioned drugs to avoid extra damage to the retina.

Do as much as possible to avoid hypertension, by not smoking, drinking alcohol in a moderate way and avoid saturated fats are a helpful ways to treat the illness too.

Again, the most effective way to prevent ophthalmologic problems derived from diabetes is to keep a strong control of the level of sugar in the blood.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is commonly treated by a procedure named scatter laser treatment, and is used to create 1,600 – 2,000 burns in the retina in order to reduce the need of the retina for oxygen, diminishing the chance of the occurrence of ischemia.

The objective of the burns is eliminates the abnormal blood vessels that appear in the retina. In advance stages of diabetic, this procedure has proven to reduce the severe loss of vision by a 50%.

To proceed, the first step is to dilates the pupil and provide anesthetic drops; then the doctor applies a special lens on the eye while the patient sits in front of the laser. There are several kinds of laser, and we can name for example: Pattern scan laser for two dimensional patterns such as rings, arcs and squares, single spot laser and navigated laser which tracks retinal eye movements live.

Diabetic Retinopathy ICD 10 Recap

To  talk about the Diabetic Retinopathy ICD 10 is not simple , and it is necessary to have knowledge about coding and also about the condition itself and how to treat it..Even though the name of the condition is self explanatory, is important  to know that the prevention in these types of complications is paramount, and a healthy lifestyle can be the best solution available.

Keeping blood sugar level controlled will make the illness much easier to manage, and the best way to do that is getting the right medicine, and avoid any habit that can have relationship with hypertension.

As we have seen there are several treatments for the condition, but like the majority of the health problems, the success of them will depend also on the habits of the affected person.

This article was made in order to give part of the available information about Diabetic Retinopathy and  the possible procedures that can be applied to eliminate or diminish the negative effect in the health of people that live with diabetes.