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Do retinopathy signs in non-diabetic individuals predict the subsequent risk of diabetes?


Background/aims: Isolated retinopathy signs are common in non-diabetic individuals and have been shown to be associated with impaired glucose metabolism. In a cohort of people without diabetes, the association of these retinopathy signs and subsequent development of diabetes were examined.

Methods: A population based cohort study of 7992 people aged 49–73 years without diabetes was conducted. Retinal photographs of these participants were evaluated for the presence of retinopathy signs according to a standardised protocol. Incident cases of diabetes were identified prospectively.

Results: After a follow up of 3 years, 291 (3.6%) people developed incident diabetes. In the total cohort, retinopathy was not significantly associated with incident diabetes (4.7% v 3.6%, multivariable adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.1, 95% confidence intervals (CI), 0.7 to 1.9). However, among participants with a positive family history of diabetes, retinopathy was associated with incident diabetes (10.4% v 4.8%, multivariable adjusted OR 2.3, 95% CI, 1.0 to 5.3). Among participants without a family history of diabetes, retinopathy was not associated with incident diabetes

Conclusions: In individuals with a family history of diabetes, retinopathy signs predict subsequent risk of clinical diabetes.

  • diabetic retinopathy
  • type 2 diabetes
  • retinopathy
  • epidemiology

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