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

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

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Department of Nutrition and Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.



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.


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.


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).


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.

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