Glucagon-like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonist use and the effect on diabetic retinopathy: An uncertain relationship

Benjamin T K Hui, Jian Lee Yeong, Tunde Peto, Colin E Willoughby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glucagon-like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists (GLP-1 RAs) are a group of relatively novel medications for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. These medications can mimic the naturally occurring incretins of the body, which promote the release of insulin in response to hyperglycaemia. The anti-glycaemic effects of these medications can be profound and carry other metabolic benefits such as promoting weight loss. Clinical trials have shown GLP-1 RAs are safe to use from a cardiovascular perspective. However, some trials have suggested a link between GLP-1 RA use and worsening diabetic retinopathy. The conclusions surrounding this link are poorly established as data is drawn primarily from cardiovascular outcome trials. If an association does exist, a possible explanation might be the observed phenomenon of early worsening diabetic retinopathy with rapid correction of hyperglycaemic states. Trials which look at diabetic retinopathy as a primary outcome in relation to use of GLP-1 RAs are sparse and warrant investigation given the growing use of this group of medications. Therefore currently, it is uncertain what effect, beneficial or adverse, GLP-1 RA use has on diabetic retinopathy. This article provides an overview of GLP-1 RA use as a treatment for diabetes mellitus and the current understanding of their relationship with diabetic retinopathy. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2024 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Article number171240
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
Early online date3 May 2024
Publication statusPublished online - 3 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Inc.

Data Access Statement

No data was used for the research described in the article.


  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Glucagon-like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists


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