Diabetic Macular Edema More Prevalent Among Some Patients

(HealthDay News) — Some subpopulations of patients with diabetes carry a higher burden of diabetic macular edema, according to a study published online in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, from University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,038 participants aged at least 40 years in the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey with diabetes and valid fundus photographs.

The researchers found that 55 participants had diabetic macular edema (DME), for an overall weighted prevalence of 3.8% or approximately 746,000 persons in the U.S. 2010 population aged at least 40 years. Prevalence of DME did not vary by age or sex. 

The odds of having DME were higher for non-Hispanic blacks than for non-Hispanic whites (OR=2.64; P=.02). DME prevalence was also associated with elevated levels of glycosylated HbA1c (OR=1.47 for each 1%; P<.001) and longer duration of diabetes (OR=8.51 for ≥10 vs. <10 years; P<.001).

“Given recent treatment advances in reducing vision loss and preserving vision in persons with DME, it is imperative that all persons with diabetes receive early screening; this recommendation is even more important for those at higher risk for DME,” the researchers wrote.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


  1. Varma R et al. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014;doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2014.2854.