Background Retinopathy is increasingly recognized in prediabetic populations, and may herald increased risk of metabolic worsening. The Early Diabetes Intervention Program (EDIP) evaluated worsening of glycemia in screen-detected Type 2 diabetes, following participants for up to 5 years. Here we have evaluated whether the presence of retinopathy at the time of detection of diabetes was associated with accelerated progression of glycemia. Methods We prospectively studied 194 participants from EDIP with available baseline retinal photographs. Retinopathy was determined at baseline using 7-field fundus photography and defined as an Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study Scale grading score of ≥ 20. Results At baseline, 12% of participants had classical retinal lesions indicating retinopathy. In univariate Cox proportional hazard analysis, the presence of retinopathy at baseline was associated with a doubled risk of progression of fasting plasma glucose (HR 2.02; 95% CI 1.05–3.89). The retinopathy effect was robust to individual adjustment for age and glucose, the most potent determinants of progression in EDIP. Conclusion Retinopathy was associated with increased risk of progression of fasting plasma glucose among adults with screen-detected, early diabetes. Early detection of retinopathy may help individualize more aggressive therapy to prevent progressive metabolic worsening in early diabetes.
- Early diabetes
- Microvascular disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism