Aim A population-based study was carried out to evaluate the prevalence and risk factors of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in The Northern Osthrobothnia Hospital District, Finland. The aim was to compare the current prevalence and the risk factors with those obtained in a study performed in a similar setting 17 years earlier.
Methods and patients The prevalence of DR was evaluated from fundus photographs in a cross-sectional manner in children and adolescents with T1D (n=297) living in the Northern Osthrobothnia Hospital District on 1 January 2007.
Results The prevalence of DR was 7.6% (12/158) in males and 16.5% (23/139) in females in the present study and 7.3% in males and 12.9% in females in the former study. The mean age of the patients was 11.9 and 11.8 years, and the mean duration of diabetes was 4.9 and 5.0 years in the present and the former study, respectively. DR was associated with older age (p<0.001), longer duration of diabetes (p<0.001), higher glycated haemoglobin A1c (GHbA1c) (9.3% in those with DR vs 8.3% in those without DR, p=0.001, or 78 vs 67 mmol/mol, respectively) and female sex (p=0.016); in a logistic regression analysis, these factors explained 35% of DR. These risk factors are essentially the same as identified in the cohort 17 years earlier. GHbA1c levels had not significantly improved during that time.
Conclusions The overall prevalence of DR among children with T1D was 11.8% (35/297) showing no decrease over the past 17 years; in girls, DR was diagnosed more often in the present than in the former study, but there was no change in the prevalence among the boys. Glycaemic control had remained unchanged.
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