A patient with diabetes mellitus should have regular ophthalmologic examinations. These can help identify early lesions of diabetic retinopathy and allow for early interventions. The American Diabetic Association has proposed a schedule for these exams.



(1) type of diabetes (previously age of onset)

(2) pregnancy in a pre-existing diabetic

(3)presence of abnormal findings

Type of Diabetes

First Examination

Type 1 and age of onset <= 7 years of age

10 years of age

Type 1 with age of onset > 7 years of age

(age of onset) + (3 to 5 years)

Type 2

(age of onset)

female with Type 1 or 2 trying to become pregnant

before conception and during first trimester



• Some recommendations use age of onset as an operational definition for the type of diabetes. For these, an age of onset <30 years is type 1 and >= 30 years is type 2.


Type of Diabetes

Exam Findings

Subsequent Exams

Type 1 or 2



Type 1 or 2


3 - 6 months

pregnant female



pregnant female


depends on severity


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