Diabetic retinopathy risks studied

Interesting new findings have emerged from a study of the risk factors for the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy, namely, that its severity determines the rate of progression, especially in younger patients.

Novel factors, such as younger age and an interrelationship with macular edema, were newly identified, and ethnicity may be an independent risk factor for progression of retinopathy and macular edema. Colin Tan, MBBS, MMed(Ophth), FRCSEd, presented the study findings during the annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

"Diabetic retinopathy is the major cause of visual impairment and blindness worldwide," said Dr. Tan, consultant, Department of Ophthalmology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, National Healthcare Group Eye Institute, Singapore.

"One reason for this may be the interrelationships among the various risk factors," he explained.

In light of these discrepancies, Dr. Tan and colleagues studied patients with the disease over the course of 5 years as well as the risk factors associated with different facets of the disease: pre-existing diabetic retinopathy, the development and rate of progression of diabetic retinopathy, and development of clinically relevant diabetic macular edema.

A total of 250 patients (mean age, 66 years) (500 eyes) with type 2 diabetes were included and followed for more than 5 years. Patients with coexisting ocular pathologies or a history of ocular surgeries were excluded. The diabetic retinopathy was graded using the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study classification. The results underwent univariate and multivariate analyses.