Is serum cholesterol associated with progression of diabetic retinopathy or macular edema in persons with younger-onset diabetes of long duration?

Am J Ophthalmol. 1999 Nov;128(5):652-4. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(99)00222-6.


Purpose: To quantitate the relationships of total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol to the incidence and progression of diabetic retinopathy and macular edema 5 years later in those with younger-onset diabetes of long duration.

Methods: Casual serum specimens for lipid values and fundus photography at the time of the lipid determinations were evaluated with regard to retinal lesions in photographs taken 5 years later during the course of a population-based cohort study.

Results: Univariable associations were significant for associations of incident retinal lesions with total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, but multivariable associations considering covariates were not significant.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that lowering cholesterol by therapeutic means may not be indicated for the sole purpose of decreasing the incidence or progression of these retinal lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / blood
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / physiopathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Edema / complications*
  • Edema / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Macula Lutea*
  • Retinal Diseases / complications*
  • Retinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Time Factors


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol