Diabetic retinopathy in Down's syndrome

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Abstract

Aim

To determine the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in patients with Down's syndrome and diabetes mellitus.

Method

Nine patients with Down's syndrome and diabetes mellitus were assessed. Factors recorded included type and duration of diabetes, level of diabetic control, blood pressure, urinalysis, and results of ophthalmological examination.

Results

The duration of diabetes ranged from 8 to 41 years (mean 17.6 years). All had satisfactory glycaemic control and blood pressure measurements on the low side of normal (mean 106.6/70 mm Hg). One patient had early background diabetic retinopathy. The remainder had no evidence of diabetic retinopathy.

Conclusion

The low prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in these Down's syndrome patients, despite the long duration, is an interesting finding. It suggests some inherent protective factor against the development of diabetic retinopathy in this patient subgroup.

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