Purpose: To examine the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy and its relation to certain risk factors (glycosylated hemoglobin, blood pressure, serum creatinine, proteinuria, smoking) in a population-based study on a specific age-group of patients with diabetes mellitus in the county of Umeå, Sweden.
Methods: All diabetic patients aged 15-50 years living in the county of Umeå were invited to the study. A standard clinical and eye examination was performed, and seven-field stereoscopic photographs were taken of each eye. Blood and urine samples were collected. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were performed.
Results: Of the eligible 395 patients 285 (91%) participated in the study. 285 patients (79%) had diabetes mellitus type 1, 71 (20%) subjects had diabetes mellitus type 2, and 3 patients (1%) had secondary diabetes. In the statistical analysis performed on patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus, duration, presence of hypertension, systolic blood pressure, plasma glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, serum creatinine, proteinuria and smoking all were significantly related to increasing degree of retinopathy when a univariate model was applied. However, when a multivariate analysis was performed only duration, proteinuria, glycosylated hemoglobin and male gender were statistically significantly associated with severeness of retinopathy.
Conclusion: Increased duration of diabetes, inadequate metabolic control as measured by glycosylated hemoglobin, proteinuria and male gender are factors that are associated with a higher incidence of diabetic retinopathy in diabetes mellitus type 1.