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February 1989

The Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy: IX. Four-Year Incidence and Progression of Diabetic Retinopathy When Age at Diagnosis Is Less Than 30 Years

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs R. Klein, B. Klein, and Davis and Mr Moss) and Statistics (Dr DeMets), University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(2):237-243. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070010243030

• Population-based epidemiologic data on the incidence and progression of diabetic retinopathy are important in medical counseling and rehabilitative services and for developing approaches to preventing diabetic retinopathy. We performed a population-based study in southern Wisconsin of insulin-taking diabetic persons diagnosed before 30 years of age. Of the 271 who had no retinopathy at the first visit, 160 (59%) developed it by the time they were reexamined four years later, and 75 (11%) of the 713 free of proliferative diabetic retinopathy developed it. Overall, worsening of retinopathy occurred in 41% of the population, whereas improvement occurred in only 7%. The incidence of proliferative retinopathy rose with increasing duration until 13 to 14 years of diabetes, thereafter remaining between 14% and 17%. These incidence data underscore the need for careful ophthalmologic follow-up of these people.

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