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Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2007 Apr;35(3):231-6.

Progression of retinopathy during pregnancy in type 1 diabetes mellitus.

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University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester, UK.



The incidence and risk factors for progression of retinopathy during pregnancy in women with type 1 diabetes mellitus were retrospectively evaluated.


Fifty-four insulin-dependent diabetic patients at a teaching hospital in Saudi Arabia were followed throughout the pregnancy/puerperium with serial ophthalmic examination. Dilated fundus examination was performed in each trimester and puerperium.


Progression of diabetic retinopathy in the study occurred in 13/54 (24%) patients--2/22 (9.1%) patients had no diabetic retinopathy initially, 4/20 (20%) had non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and 7/12 (58.3%) had proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Of the eight patients with PDR who had no laser treatment before pregnancy, six (75%) showed progression but only one of the four patients who had PDR and laser treatment prior to pregnancy experienced progression of retinopathy. Eight patients in total received panretinal photocoagulation to arrest the progression of retinal disease during pregnancy and only one of them had laser treatment prior to pregnancy.


Laser photocoagulation for severe NPDR or early PDR prior to pregnancy may protect against rapid progression of PDR. Visual impairment resulting from progression of PDR can be prevented by aggressive laser treatment during pregnancy. Duration of diabetes>15 years, poor glycaemic control and hypertension are high-risk factors in the progression of diabetic retinopathy in pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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