Zanco Journal of Medical Sciences
Skip Navigation Links
Available Issues
Editorial Board
Information for Authors
Review Process
Links and Contacts
  Zanco J Med Sci:  Dec. 2017; 21 (3): 1915-1921

The Prevalence of diabetic optic neuropathy in type 2 diabetes mellitus

Ali A. Taqi Al-Saffar *

* Sulaimani School of Medicine, Sulaimani, Iraq.


Background and objective: As diabetes mellitus a common health problem, it is well known that it can lead to optic neuropathy that affects the optic nerve functions. It is important to monitor the effect of this metabolic disease on the optic nerve that can lead ultimately to decrease visual acuity that can be irreversible. This study aimed to find out the prevalence of diabetic optic nerve diseases and to evaluate the patient characteristics and fundus findings.

Methods: Screening examination was done for 2213 patients with type 2 diabetic patients presented to the diabetic center from October 2007 to September 2009. The examination includes visual acuity test using conventional E chart, slit lamp exam, followed by installing short acting Mydriatics (tropicamide 1%) eye drops for fundoscopy examination using +76.D or +90 D.

Results: Eighty eight patients (approximately 4%) had optic nerve problems; 50 females and 38 males. The mean age was 59 years. A total of 58 (116 eyes) patients were bilaterally affected, 42 patients with optic papillopathy, 8 patients with anterior ischemic optic neuropathy and profound loss of vision, 8 with glaucomatous cupping and pallor and 30 patients with end stage optic atrophy. A total of 63 (71.5%) patients had poor metabolic control.

Conclusions: Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus have 4% prevalence of diabetic optic neuropathy.

Keywords: Background diabetic retinopathy; Proliferative diabetic retinopathy; Primary open angle glaucoma; Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy.



1. Chan JW. Ischemic optic neuropathy. In: Jane W Chan, editor. Optic Nerve Disorders Diagnosis and Management, 1st ed. University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky: Springer publishing; 2007.P. 34-37.

2. Ingrid US, Harry WF. Non-retinal Ocular Abnormalities. In: Ingrid US, Harry W. F, Jr, William E.S, editors. Diabetes and Ocular Disease Past, Present, and Future Therapies, 2nd Edition. New York: Oxford University Press in cooperation with the American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2010. P.64 and p.328

3. Madhura T, Nicholas J. Diabetic papillopathy-Up to Date; 2016. (Accessed November 29, 2016). Available at: contents/ diabetic papillopathy? source= search_result&search=diabetic+papillopathy&selectedTitle=1~2result&search=diabetic+papillopathy&selectedTitle=1~2

4. Helmut W, Ulrich S. Optic Disc Signs and Optic Neuropathies. In: Ulrich S, Helmut W, William Ha,Editors.Clinical Neuro- Ophthalmology a Practical Guide.1st ed. Berlin: Springer Verlag; 2007.p.118.

5. Khurana AK. Glaucoma.In: A K Khurana, editor. Comprehensive Ophthalmology, 4thed.New Delhi: New Age International (P) Limited, Publishers; 2007. p.214.

6. Nathan T, Randy H. Optic atrophy. In: Leonard A, Daniel M, editors. Ocular Disease: Mechanisms and Management, 1sted. New York: Elsevier Publishing; 2010. P. 339

7. Visual Standards Report Prepared For the International Council of Ophthalmology at the 29th International Congress of Ophthalmology, Sydney, Australia April; 2002. (Accessed November 29, 2016, at

8. Dragan V, Milo J. Diabetes mellitus and optic nerve diseases. Acta Fac Med Naiss2005; 22(3):145-8.

9. Bayraktar Z, Alacali N, Bayraktar S. Diabetic papillopathy in type II diabetic patients. Retina2002; 22(6):752-8.

10. Regillo CD. Diabetic papillopathy. Patient characteristics and fundus findings; Arch Ophthalmol l995; 113(7):889-95.

11. David JB.Optic Nerve Disease in Diabetes Mellitus.David J B editor. Diabetic Retinopathy Evidence-Based Management. 1sted. New York, USA: Springer; 2010.p 361.

12. Hayreh SS1, Joos KM, Podhajsky PA. Long. Systemic Diseases Associated with Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Am J Ophthalmol1994; 118(6):766-80.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.