Prevalence and risk factors for diabetic retinopathy in 17 152 patients from the island of Funen, Denmark

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This study aims to estimate the prevalence and risk factors of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in patients enrolled in a large Danish quality-assuring database for diabetes: the Funen Diabetes Database (FDDB).


All patients with type 1 (T1DM) and type 2 DM (T2DM) diabetes mellitus (DM) were included in a cross-sectional study. The level of DR per patient was determined based on the eye with highest level of DR. All ocular and non-ocular data were extracted at the latest examination that corresponded to the most recent DR-grading data.


Data from 17 152 patients were analysed; 83.1% had T2DM. Prevalence of DR was 23.8% (T1DM: 54.3%, T2DM: 21.2%). T1/T2DM patients were statistically significantly different regarding age, duration of diabetes, BMI, systolic blood pressure (BP), cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglyceride, s-creatinine and u-albumin (p < 0.001 for all). Increasing level of DR showed statistically significant association with age, duration of diabetes, systolic BP, HbA1c, s-creatinine and u-albumine with increasing level of DR (all are p < 0.001) both T1DM/T2DM patients.


The patients in FDDB had good systemic control with median values of BP, serum lipids, cholesterol and HbA1c all close to or below national guidelines at the time of data extraction, but still a high level of DR was found in this cohort. DR was more common in patients with T1DM than T2DM, but as T2DM patients are more numerous, their level of DR despite acceptable control is still concerning. Most important associated factors for higher levels of DR were age, duration of diabetes, HbA1c, s-creatinine and u-albumine.

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