Projection of diabetic retinopathy and other major eye diseases among people with diabetes mellitus: United States, 2005-2050

Arch Ophthalmol. 2008 Dec;126(12):1740-7. doi: 10.1001/archopht.126.12.1740.


Objectives: To estimate the number of people with diabetic retinopathy (DR), vision-threatening DR (VTDR), glaucoma, and cataracts among Americans 40 years or older with diagnosed diabetes mellitus for the years 2005-2050.

Methods: Using published prevalence data of DR, VTDR, glaucoma, and cataracts and data from the National Health Interview Survey and the US Census Bureau, we projected the number of Americans with diabetes with these eye conditions.

Results: The number of Americans 40 years or older with DR and VTDR will triple in 2050, from 5.5 million in 2005 to 16.0 million for DR and from 1.2 million in 2005 to 3.4 million for VTDR. Increases among those 65 years or older will be more pronounced (2.5 million to 9.9 million for DR and 0.5 million to 1.9 million for VTDR). The number of cataract cases among whites and blacks 40 years or older with diabetes will likely increase 235% by 2050, and the number of glaucoma cases among Hispanics with diabetes 65 years or older will increase 12-fold.

Conclusion: Future increases in the number of Americans with diabetes will likely lead to significant increases in the number with DR, glaucoma, and cataracts. Our projections may help policy makers anticipate future demands for health care resources and possibly guide the development of targeted interventions.

Clinical relevance: Efforts to prevent diabetes and to optimally manage diabetes and its complications are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cataract / ethnology*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diabetes Mellitus / ethnology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / ethnology*
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Glaucoma / ethnology*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology