The relation of socioeconomic factors to the incidence of proliferative diabetic retinopathy and loss of vision

Ophthalmology. 1994 Jan;101(1):68-76. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(94)31354-6.


Purpose: To investigate the relations between socioeconomic factors and the incidence of proliferative retinopathy and loss of vision.

Methods: A population-based sample of younger-onset persons with diabetes 25 years of age or older (n = 334) and older-onset persons with diabetes (n = 906) was followed over a 4-year period. Education, occupational status, employment status, and marital status were measured at baseline and follow-up. Main outcome measures were incidence of proliferative retinopathy and loss of vision measured using standard protocols.

Results: Proliferative retinopathy was more likely to develop in younger-onset women with less education than in those with more education; no relation was found in the older-onset group. Education was associated inversely with incidence of loss of vision in younger-onset women and older-onset men.

Conclusion: These data suggest that education is associated with the development of loss of vision, independent of other risk factors. The associations vary between men and women and between younger-onset and older-onset people with diabetes. Further understanding of these relationships may lead to interventions to prevent loss of vision in people with diabetes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blindness / epidemiology
  • Blindness / etiology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / etiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology