Prevalence of diabetic eye disease in patients entering a systematic primary care-based eye screening programme

Diabet Med. 2002 Dec;19(12):1014-21. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-5491.2002.00854.x.


Aims: Large-scale, baseline prevalence measurements in a population at the institution of systematic retinal screening are currently unavailable. We report the prevalence of all grades of retinopathy at entry into a systematic primary care-based diabetic eye screening programme.

Methods: Primary care-based photographic screening utilizing mydriasis and three-field non-stereoscopic photography for all patients with diabetes (except those under continuing care of an ophthalmologist) in Liverpool. Sight-threatening diabetic eye disease (STED) was defined as any of: moderate preproliferative retinopathy or worse, circinate maculopathy or exudates within one disc diameter of the centre of fovea.

Results: Type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) (n = 831): baseline prevalence (95% confidence interval (CI)) of any retinopathy, proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) and STED was 45.7% (42.3-49.1), 3.7% (2.4-5.0) and 16.4% (13.9-18.9), respectively. Presence of STED was associated with increased disease duration (odds ratio (OR) 1.09 per year; P < 0.0001) and higher in men (OR 2.15; P = 0.001). Type 2 DM (n = 7231): baseline prevalence (95% CI) of any retinopathy, PDR and STED was 25.3% (24.3-26.3), 0.5% (0.3-0.7) and 6.0% (5.5-6.5), respectively. Presence of STED was associated with longer time since diagnosis of DM (OR 1.03; P < 0.0001) and insulin use (OR 2.46; P < 0.0001).

Conclusion: This study provides baseline information for health providers on prevalence of all grades of retinopathy and STED in a large population at the establishment of systematic screening. Baseline prevalence of STED was high and highest in patients with a longer disease duration in both Type 1 and Type 2 DM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography / methods
  • Primary Health Care
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology
  • Vision Screening / methods
  • Visual Acuity / physiology