Quantitative retinal vascular calibre changes in diabetes and retinopathy: the Singapore Malay eye study

Eye (Lond). 2009 Aug;23(8):1719-24. doi: 10.1038/eye.2008.362. Epub 2008 Dec 12.


Purpose: To describe the relationship of retinal vascular calibre with diabetes and diabetic retinopathy in an Asian population.

Methods: A total of 3280 (78.7% response) subjects, aged 40-80 years, of Malay ethnicity residing in Singapore participated in this population-based, cross-sectional study. Retinal vascular calibre was measured and summarized using a validated computer programme from digital retinal photographs. Diabetic retinopathy signs were graded from photographs using the modified Airlie House classification.

Results: Of the 3004 subjects with data for this analysis, 682 (22.7%) had diabetes, of whom 194 (28.4%) had retinopathy. After multivariable adjustment, retinal arteriolar calibre was significantly wider in persons with diabetes (141 vs139 microm, P<0.001); venular calibre was not associated with diabetes (P=0.93). Among participants with diabetes, venular calibre increased from 218.7 microm in those without retinopathy to 231.1 microm in those with moderate and 231.4 microm in those with severe retinopathy (Pfor trend=<0.001); arteriolar calibre was not associated with diabetic retinopathy.

Conclusions: This study shows wider retinal arterioles in diabetes and wider venules in those with diabetic retinopathy in an Asian population. These findings confirm earlier data on white population, supporting the concept that a quantitative assessment of retinal vasculature may provide further insights into early diabetic microvascular damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arterioles / pathology
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indonesia / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology*
  • Singapore
  • Venules / pathology