Aims/hypothesis Although increasing hyperglycaemia, arterial hypertension and longer duration of diabetes raise the risk of progression of diabetic retinopathy, short-term benefits in terms of improved metabolic control and lowered blood pressure have not been demonstrated. We therefore examined the effect of changes in glycaemia and arterial blood pressure on the incidence of clinically significant macular oedema in a population of diabetic patients. Methods We performed a retrospective review of all patients with type 1 diabetes who attended the retinopathy screening clinic at the Steno Diabetes Center from 1988 to 2008, using the endpoint referral to first photocoagulation treatment for clinically significant diabetic macular oedema. The analysis included 1,878 patients (median observation, 8 years). Changes were defined as the inter-visit change; in the case of an event the last event-free interval before referral, where the median screening interval was 6 months. Results Risk of progression to photocoagulation for macular oedema increased with duration of diabetes (p < 0.001), current HbA1c (p < 0.0001) and with the magnitude of changes in HbA1c (p = 0.0002) and systolic blood pressure (p < 0.0001) in a multiple regression model. A recent decrease of ≥0.5 percentage points or an increase in HbA1c of >0.5 percentage points per 6 months was associated with HRs of 3.04 and 1.28, respectively, compared with lesser changes in HbA1c. Conclusions/interpretation In this study, large recent changes in metabolic control and systolic blood pressure, irrespective of direction, were independent risk factors for progression to photocoagulation for diabetic macular oedema. The effects of metabolic and haemodynamic stability on diabetic retinopathy should be examined in prospective studies.
Diabetologia, 2013, Vol 56, Issue 11, p. 2359-2366
Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Blood pressure; Clinically significant macular oedema; HbA1c; Risk factors; Type 1 diabetes