Author(s): Ferm ML, DeSalvo DJ, Prichett LM, Sickler JK, Wolf RM, Channa R. Clinical and Demographic Factors Associated With Diabetic Retinopathy Among Young Patients With Diabetes. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Sep 1;4(9):e2126126. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.26126. PMID 34570208
Importance Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. As the incidence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes among youths continues to increase around the world, understanding the factors associated with the development of DR in this age group is important.
Objective To identify factors associated with DR among children, adolescents, and young adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes in the US.
Design, Setting, and Participants This cross-sectional study pooled data from 2 large academic pediatric centers in the US (Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital [BCM/TCH] Diabetes and Endocrine Care Center and Johns Hopkins University [JHU] Pediatric Diabetes Center) to form a diverse population for analysis. Data were collected prospectively at the JHU center (via point-of-care screening using fundus photography) from December 3, 2018, to November 1, 2019, and retrospectively at the BCM/TCH center (via electronic health records of patients who received point-of-care screening using retinal cameras between June 1, 2016, and May 31, 2019). A total of 1640 individuals aged 5 to 21 years with type 1 or type 2 diabetes (308 participants from the JHU center and 1332 participants from the BCM/TCH center) completed DR screening and had gradable images.
Main Outcome and Measures Prevalence of DR, as identified on fundus photography, and factors associated with DR.
Results Among 1640 participants (mean [SD] age, 15.7 [3.6] years; 867 female individuals [52.9%]), 1216 (74.1%) had type 1 diabetes, and 416 (25.4%) had type 2 diabetes. A total of 506 participants (30.9%) were Hispanic, 384 (23.4%) were non-Hispanic Black or African American, 647 (39.5%) were non-Hispanic White, and 103 (6.3%) were of other races or ethnicities (1 was American Indian or Alaska Native, 50 were Asian, 1 was Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 51 did not specify race or ethnicity, specified other race or ethnicity, or had unavailable data on race or ethnicity). Overall, 558 of 1216 patients (45.9%) with type 1 diabetes used an insulin pump, and 5 of 416 patients (1.2%) with type 2 diabetes used an insulin pump. Diabetic retinopathy was found in 57 of 1640 patients (3.5%). Patients with DR vs without DR had a greater duration of diabetes (mean [SD], 9.4 [4.4] years vs 6.6 [4.4] years; P < .001) and higher hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels (mean [SD], 10.3% [2.4%] vs 9.2% [2.1%]; P < .001). Among those with type 1 diabetes, insulin pump use was associated with a lower likelihood of DR after adjusting for race and ethnicity, insurance status, diabetes duration, and HbA1c level (odds ratio [OR], 0.43; 95% CI, 0.20-0.93; P = .03). The likelihood of having DR was 2.1 times higher among Black or African American participants compared with White participants (OR, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.12-4.01; P = .02); this difference was no longer significant after adjusting for duration of diabetes, insurance status, insulin pump use (among patients with type 1 diabetes only), and mean HbA1c level (type 1 diabetes: OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 0.83-3.89; P = .14; type 2 diabetes: OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.30-3.85; P = .91).
Conclusions and Relevance This study found that although the duration of diabetes and suboptimal glycemic control have long been associated with DR, insulin pump use (among those with type 1 diabetes) was independently associated with a lower likelihood of DR, which is likely owing to decreased glycemic variability and increased time in range (ie, the percentage of time blood glucose levels remain within the 70-180 mg/dL range). Black or African American race was found to be associated with DR in the univariable analysis but not in the multivariable analysis, which may represent disparities in access to diabetes technologies and care.