A small number of older type 2 diabetic patients end up visually impaired despite regular photographic screening and laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy

Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 2002 Jun;80(3):310-5. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0420.2002.800315.x.


Purpose: The present study describes the prevalence of visual impairment and blindness in a geographically defined population 8 years after the introduction of a screening programme in 1987 for early detection of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy.

Methods: Of 374 patients with diabetes, comprising 2.6% of the population in the study community, 72% were examined with fundus photography or biomicroscopy during 1994-95. These patients form the basis of this study. The screening programme was fulfilled by 93% of subjects, all of whom underwent ophthalmic examinations at least every other year. A total of 79 eyes in 52 patients received photocoagulation for macular oedema alone or in combination with severe non-proliferative or proliferative retinopathy.

Results: Eight years after the implementation of the programme, only three patients, all with type 2 diabetes (diabetes diagnosed at or after 30 years of age), had visual acuity < or = 0.1. The total number of eyes with visual acuity < or = 0.5 was higher in insulin-treated type 2 diabetic patients (n = 20) than in those on oral treatment (n = 5) or diet treatment only (n = 1) (p = 0.006 in both cases). The only independent risk factor for visual impairment in eyes with sight-threatening retinopathy was age.

Conclusion: A small number of older type 2 diabetic patients end up with visual impairment due to unsuccessful photocoagulation of macular oedema.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blindness / epidemiology*
  • Blindness / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / complications
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Laser Coagulation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Vision Screening / methods
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visually Impaired Persons / statistics & numerical data*