Prevalence, incidence and future projection of diabetic eye disease in Europe: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur J Epidemiol. 2020 Jan;35(1):11-23. doi: 10.1007/s10654-019-00560-z. Epub 2019 Sep 12.


To examine the prevalence and incidence of diabetic eye disease (DED) among individuals with diabetes in Europe, a systematic review to identify all published European prevalence and incidence studies of DED in individuals with diabetes managed in primary health care was performed according to the MOOSE and PRISMA guidelines. The databases Medline, Embase and Web of Science were searched to 2 September 2017. Meta-analyses and meta-regressions were performed. The pooled prevalence estimates were applied to diabetes prevalence rates provided by the International Diabetes Foundation atlas and Eurostat population data, and extrapolated to the year 2050. Data of 35 prevalence and four incidence studies were meta-analyzed. Any diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME) were prevalent in 25.7% (95% CI 22.8-28.8%) and 3.7% (95% CI 2.2-6.2%), respectively. In meta-regression, the prevalence of DR in persons with type 1 diabetes was significantly higher compared to persons with type 2 diabetes (54.4% vs. 25.0%). The pooled mean annual incidence of any DR and DME in in persons with type 2 diabetes was 4.6% (95% CI 2.3-8.8%) and 0.4% (95% CI 0.5-1.4%), respectively. We estimated that persons with diabetes affected by any DED in Europe will increase from 6.4 million today to 8.6 million in 2050, of whom 30% require close monitoring and/or treatment. DED is estimated to be present in more than a quarter of persons with type 2 diabetes and half of persons with type 1 diabetes underlining the importance of regular monitoring. Future health services need to be planned accordingly.

Keywords: Diabetic eye disease; Diabetic macular edema; Diabetic retinopathy; Epidemiology; Extrapolation; Incidence; Prevalence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / etiology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Macular Edema / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors