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Rev Diabet Stud. 2013 Summer-Fall;10(2-3):121-32. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2013.10.121. Epub 2013 Aug 10.

Dyslipidemia and diabetic retinopathy.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Kaohsiung Municipal Hsiao-Kang Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the major microvascular complications of diabetes. In developed countries, it is the most common cause of preventable blindness in diabetic adults. Dyslipidemia, a major systemic disorder, is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Patients with diabetes have an increased risk of suffering from dyslipidemia concurrently. The aim of this article is to review the association between diabetic retinopathy (DR) and traditional/nontraditional lipid markers, possible mechanisms involving lipid metabolism and diabetic retinopathy, and the effect of lipid-lowering therapies on diabetic retinopathy. For traditional lipid markers, evidence is available that total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol are associated with the presence of hard exudates in patients with DR. The study of nontraditional lipid markers is advancing only in recently years. The severity of DR is inversely associated with apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1), whereas ApoB and the ApoB-to-ApoA1 ratio are positively associated with DR. The role of lipid-lowering medication is to work as adjunctive therapy for better control of diabetes-related complications including DR.

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