Impact of age and duration on sight-threatening retinopathy in South Asians and Caucasians attending a diabetic clinic

Eye (Lond). 2004 Mar;18(3):233-40. doi: 10.1038/sj.eye.6700629.


Aims: To examine diabetic retinopathy in Asians and Caucasians attending a hospital diabetic clinic and to evaluate the impact of the significant risk factors on the probability of sight-threatening retinopathy.

Methods: A total of 500 diabetic patients (268 Asians, 232 Caucasians) who attended a diabetic clinic within a defined time period were examined for severity of diabetic retinopathy. The existence of sight-threatening retinopathy (STR) was compared in the two groups. Significant risk factors such as age, duration and hypertension were analysed against the probability of STR in each of the two races.

Results: Asians demonstrated significantly higher rates of STR. Univariate analysis showed age, duration, race, gender, and insulin-requiring status to be significantly associated with STR. Multivariate logistic regression showed a significant association of STR with race, age and duration of diabetes, with no significant interaction effects between variables. The logistic regression model predicted STR in Asians to be matched to that in Caucasians by a 12.5-year difference factor; that is, Caucasians were older by 12.5 years or had a 12.5-year longer duration than Asians for the same level of STR.

Conclusions: After adjusting for age and duration of diabetes, the probability of STR in Asian diabetic patients attending the diabetic clinics in Bradford is significantly higher than that in Caucasians (odds ratio=3.184, P<0.05). The impact of age and duration was significantly higher in patients of South Asian origin compared to Caucasians.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blindness / ethnology*
  • Blindness / etiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / complications
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / ethnology*
  • England / epidemiology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • India / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pakistan / ethnology
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors