Differences in incidence of diabetic retinopathy between type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus: a nine-year follow-up study

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To determine the incidence of any diabetic retinopathy (any-DR), sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy (STDR) and diabetic macular oedema (DMO) and their risk factors in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) over a screening programme.


Nine-year follow-up, prospective population-based study of 366 patients with T1DM and 15 030 with T2DM. Epidemiological risk factors were as follows: current age, age at DM diagnosis, sex, type of DM, duration of DM, arterial hypertension, levels of glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), triglycerides, cholesterol fractions, serum creatinine, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and urine albumin to creatinine ratio (UACR).


Sum incidence of any-DR was 47.26% with annual incidence 15.16±2.19% in T1DM, and 26.49% with annual incidence 8.13% in T2DM. Sum incidence of STDR was 18.03% with annual incidence 5.77±1.21% in T1DM, and 7.59% with annual incidence 2.64±0.15% in T2DM. Sum incidence of DMO was 8.46% with annual incidence 2.68±038% in patients with T1DM and 6.36% with annual incidence 2.19±0.18% in T2DM. Cox's survival analysis showed that current age and age at diagnosis were risk factors at p<0.001, as high HbA1c levels at p<0.001, LDL cholesterol was significant at p<0.001, eGFR was significant at p<0.001 and UACR at p=0.017.


The incidence of any-DR and STDR was higher in patients with T1DM than those with T2DM. Also, the 47.26% sum incidence of any-DR in patients with T1DM was higher than in a previous study (35.9%), which can be linked to poor metabolic control of DM. Our results suggest that physicians should be encouraged to pay greater attention to treatment protocols for T1DM in patients.

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