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Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2006 Sep;73(3):298-303. Epub 2006 Apr 3.

Six year incidence and progression of diabetic retinopathy: results from the Mauritius diabetes complication study.

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Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.



To determine the incidence, progression and risk factors for diabetic retinopathy in the multiethnic population of Mauritius.


A longitudinal, population-based study was conducted in Mauritius, during 1987, 1992 and 1998. Participants identified through the study as having diabetes (both known and newly diagnosed, by self-report and oral glucose tolerance test) and one in four participants with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) underwent complications screening in 1992 and 1998. Retinal photographs were taken using a TRC-50VT retinal camera in three fields of the right eye (centred on the optic disc; macula (temporal to the optic disc); and nasal to disc). Photographs were graded according to a simplified version of the Wisconsin grading system.


The 6-year incidence of diabetic retinopathy was 23.8% (sight-threatening in 0.4%). Among those with known diabetes mellitus (KDM) and free of retinopathy at baseline the incidence of non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) was 29.2% and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) was 1.0%. Among those with newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus (NDM) at baseline the incidence of NPDR was 19.1% (no incident cases of PDR were found). Independent risk factors for retinopathy using the baseline population characteristics were duration of diabetes and fasting plasma glucose.


This is one of the few recent population-based studies of diabetic retinopathy undertaken in a developing nation. The incidence of retinopathy in Mauritius was high among those with NDM at baseline, with one in five developing retinopathy over 6 years. These results support the concept that screening for diabetes is important.

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