The Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy. XV. The long-term incidence of macular edema

Ophthalmology. 1995 Jan;102(1):7-16. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(95)31052-4.


Background: As part of a population-based study of diabetes mellitus, the incidence of macular edema over a 10-year period and its relation to various risk factors are examined.

Methods: There were 891 younger-onset people with a diagnosis of having had diabetes before 30 years of age who were taking insulin at baseline examination and 987 older-onset people with a diagnosis of having had diabetes at 30 years of age or older who participated in baseline and 4-year examinations. Of these, 765 younger-onset and 533 older-onset people also participated in a 10-year examination. The presence of macular edema at baseline and follow-up examinations was determined from gradings of stereoscopic fundus photographs.

Results: The incidence of macular edema over the 10-year period was 20.1% in the younger-onset group, 25.4% in the older-onset group taking insulin, and 13.9% in the older-onset group not taking insulin. The incidence of macular edema over the 10-year period was associated with higher levels of glycosylated hemoglobin and more severe retinopathy in both younger- and older-onset groups, and with being female and increased diastolic blood pressure in the older-onset group.

Conclusions: These data suggest a relatively high incidence of macular edema. The authors' data also suggest that a reduction in hyperglycemia may result in a beneficial decrease in the incidence of macular edema.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology*
  • Diastole
  • Edema / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Macula Lutea*
  • Male
  • Retinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Wisconsin


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin