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J Pediatr. 1998 May;132(5):790-4.

Diabetic retinopathy in pediatric patients with type-1 diabetes: effect of diabetes duration, prepubertal and pubertal onset of diabetes, and metabolic control.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Ulm, Germany.



The objective of this study was to determine the contribution of prepubertal and pubertal onset and duration of diabetes to the development of diabetic retinopathy.


A total of 1391 standardized fundus examinations (stereo fundus-photography) were performed in 441 children or adolescents with type-1 diabetes (median age 15.5 years, median duration of diabetes 6.3 years).


Mild nonproliferative retinopathy was present in 72 patients (median age 19.9 years). Life table analysis revealed a median duration of diabetes until retinopathy was first diagnosed at 16.6 years (95% confidence interval: 15.3 to 18.3). Patients were stratified according to diabetes onset before or in puberty (> or = 10.4 years in girls, > or = 12.2 years in boys). In children with a prepubertal onset of diabetes, retinopathy occurred after a pubertal duration of 10.9 years compared with 15.1 years in children with onset of diabetes in puberty (p < 0.01), demonstrating the additional risk conveyed by the prepubertal years of diabetes. Long-term metabolic control had a significant influence on the prevalence of retinopathy: patients with a median HbA1c > or = 7.5% had development of retinopathy on average after 15.5 years compared with 18.3 years in patients with lower HbA1c values (p < 0.05).


Both prepubertal and pubertal duration of diabetes are relevant for the development of background retinopathy. Good metabolic control should be attempted irrespective of age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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