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March 1997

Incidence of Retinopathy and Associated Risk Factors From Time of Diagnosis of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes

Arch Ophthalmol. 1997;115(3):351-356. doi:10.1001/archopht.1997.01100150353007

Objective:  To describe the prevalence at baseline and 4-year incidence of retinopathy and its relation to glycemic control from the time of diagnosis of insulin-dependent diabetes.

Design:  Geographically defined population-based study.

Setting:  Twenty-eight-county area in Wisconsin.

Study Population:  Incipient cohort of children, teenagers, and young adults (n=354) up to 30 years of age with newly diagnosed insulin-dependent diabetes.

Main Outcome Measure:  Diabetic retinopathy as determined by gradings from 30° color stereoscopic photographs of the Diabetic Retinopathy Study 7 standard fields.

Results:  The prevalence of retinopathy at diagnosis was 1.3%. Four years after diagnosis of diabetes, retinopathy was first identified in 5.1% of our cohort and in 9.7% of those 15 years of age or older. After controlling for age, subjects with a mean glycosylated hemoglobin level of 12% or greater were 3.2 times as likely (95% confidence interval, 1.1-9.9) to have retinopathy present at follow-up as were subjects with a mean glycosylated hemoglobin level of less than 12%.

Conclusion:  Population-based data on the frequency and incidence of retinopathy from the time of diagnosis of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus provided by this study suggest a possible reduction in risk of developing retinopathy in those in whom glycemic control is achieved from the time of diagnosis.