Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Epidemiology, risk factors and management of paediatric diabetic retinopathy
  1. Marla B Sultan1,2,
  2. Carla Starita3,
  3. Kui Huang1
  1. 1Pfizer Inc, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2Department of Ophthalmology, The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, New York, New York, USA
  3. 3Pfizer Ltd, Tadworth, Surrey, UK
  1. Correspondence to Marla B Sultan, Pfizer Inc, 235 East 42nd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA; marla.b.sultan{at}


Diabetic retinopathy (DR), a common complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, is rarely expressed at a level greater than background retinopathy during childhood and adolescence. Epidemiological studies in paediatric diabetic patients together with data from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial have demonstrated the importance of glycaemic control in delaying or preventing the development of DR; thus, the incidence of DR has declined somewhat over the past two decades. Both prepubertal and postpubertal years with diabetes contribute to the overall probability of DR development. In addition to duration of disease and degree of glycaemic control, other risk factors for DR development include elevated blood pressure, lipid profiles, serum levels of advanced glycation endproducts, evidence for early stage atherosclerosis, increased calibre of retinal blood vessels and several genetic factors, such as enzymes involved in glucose and lipid metabolism. Annual screening is recommended, with mydriatic stereoscopic fundus photography being the most sensitive detection method. Both pathophysiology and treatment in paediatric populations are essentially the same as described for adult populations, with treatment usually not required until adulthood is reached.

  • Adolescent
  • child
  • diabetic macular oedema
  • diabetic retinopathy
  • retina

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding This study was supported by Pfizer Inc.

  • Competing interests MBS, CS and KH are all employees of Pfizer Inc.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.