Diabetic retinopathy in the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Cohort: a pilot study

Diabet Med. 2012 Sep;29(9):1148-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2012.03591.x.


Aims: The aim of this pilot study was to generate an initial estimate of the prevalence and correlates of diabetic retinopathy in a racially and ethnically diverse sample of youth with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Methods: A pilot study was conducted among 222 individuals with Type 1 diabetes (79% non-Hispanic white, 21% other) and 43 with Type 2 diabetes (28% non-Hispanic white, 72% other), all of > 5 years duration (mean duration 6.8 years) who participated in the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study. Diabetic retinopathy was assessed using non-mydriatic retinal photography of both eyes.

Results: The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy was 17% for Type 1 diabetes and 42% for Type 2 diabetes (odds ratio 1.50, 95% CI 0.58-3.88; P = 0.40 adjusted for age, duration, gender, race/ethnicity, parental education and HbA(1c). HbA(1c) was significantly higher among those with any diabetic retinopathy (adjusted mean 79 mmol/mol, 9.4%) vs. no diabetic retinopathy (adjusted mean 70 mmol/mol, 8.6%) (P = 0.015). LDL cholesterol was also significantly higher among those with any diabetic retinopathy (adjusted mean 107.2 mg/dl) compared with those without diabetic retinopathy (adjusted mean 97.9 mg/dl) (P = 0.04).

Conclusions: The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in contemporary young individuals was substantial, particularly among minority youth and those with Type 2 diabetes. Further long-term study of diabetic retinopathy in youth is needed.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Whites / ethnology
  • Young Adult