Retinopathy During the First 5 Years of Type 1 Diabetes and Subsequent Risk of Advanced Retinopathy

Diabetes Control Complications Trial (DCCT)-Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions Complications (EDIC) Research Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE To determine whether individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) who develop any retinopathy at any time prior to 5 years of diabetes duration have an increased subsequent risk for further progression of retinopathy or onset of proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), clinically significant macular edema (CSME), diabetes-related retinal photocoagulation, or anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections. Addition-ally, to determine the influence of HbA1c and other risk factors in these individuals. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Diabetic retinopathy (DR) was assessed longitudinally using standardized stereoscopic seven-field fundus photography at time intervals of 6 months to 4 years. Early-onset DR (EDR) was defined as onset prior to 5 years of T1D duration. Cox models assessed the associations of EDR with subsequent risk of outcomes. RESULTS In unadjusted models, individuals with EDR (n = 484) had an increased subsequent risk of PDR (hazard ratio [HR] 1.51 [95% CI 1.12, 2.02], P = 0.006), CSME (HR 1.44 [1.10, 1.88], P = 0.008), and diabetes-related retinal photocoagulation (HR 1.48 [1.12, 1.96], P = 0.006) compared with individuals without EDR (n = 369). These associations remained significant when adjusted for HbA1c, but only the association with PDR remained significant after adjustment for age, duration of T1D, HbA1c, sex, systolic/diastolic blood pressure, pulse, use of ACE inhibitors, albumin excretion rate, and estimated glomerular filtration rate (HR 1.47 [95% CI 1.04, 2.06], P = 0.028). CONCLUSIONS These data suggest that individuals with any sign of retinopathy within the first 5 years of T1D onset may be at higher risk of long-term development of advanced DR, especially PDR. Identification of early-onset DR may influence prognosis and help guide therapeutic management to reduce the risk of future visual loss in these individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-686
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


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