Vol 3, No 3 (2002): Practical Diabetology
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Published online: 2002-09-24

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Occurrence and predictors of retinopathy and visual acuity in type 2 diabetic patients and control subjects 10-year follow-up from the diagnosis

Raija M. Voutilainen-Kaunisto, Markku E. Teräsvirta, Matti I.J. Uusitupa, Leo K. Niskanen
Diabetologia Praktyczna 2002;3(3):117-128.


The evolution of visual acuity and retinopathy and their risk factors in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and in control subjects. A 10-year prospective study consisting of a representative group of 133 (70 men, 63 women) newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients diagnosed at health centers between 1979 and 1981 and 144 (62 men, 82 women) non-diabetic control subjects recruited from the population register. The frequency of retinopathy was determined by grading of 45° fundus photographs at baseline and after 5 and 10 years. By the 10-year follow-up the diabetic patients had lower visual acuity than the control subjects. The im-pairment of the visual acuity correlated inversely to HbA1c value of the 5-year examination. The frequency of retinopathy in type 2 diabetic patients increased sharply after 5 years and at 10-year 55% of diabetic patients had signs of retinopathy. The frequency of retinopathy in the control subjects was low, but detectable. In the diabetic patients poor glycemic control was the most important predictive factor for the development of retinopathy. In the control subjects blood pressure levels were higher and microalbuminuria more common in those with than in those without retinopathy. The visual acuity deteriorated and the frequency of retinopathy increased in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients with duration of disease and poor glycemic control. Interestingly, higher blood pressure levels and microalbuminuria predicted retinopathy in control subjects.

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