Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the most specific pathological changes of diabetes mellitus, which has been used as the reference pathology for defining diabetic diagnostic cutting point (threshold) of fasting plasma glucose (FPG), 2-h post oral glucose load plasma glucose (2-h PG) and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). With the development of high-quality non-invasive digital fundus photography technology and quality-assured DR assessment technologies, it will be possible that this critical reference indicator be applied as an important routine systemic assessment tool for general diabetes care, in addition to FPG, 2-h PG and HbA1c.

DR is one of the major causes of visual loss nowadays in many countries.  The application of the assessment of DR in general diabetes care will be essentially important for early detection and prompt medical intervention of sight-threatening DR. This is probably a much more efficient approach for preventing diabetes-related visual loss than the traditional DR screening by eye specialists.

Routine photographic monitoring of DR changes in general diabetes care may also be used as a effective tool for patient education, which may significantly increase patient compliance for diabetic care, and therefore a better diabetes control.