Treated Diabetic Retinopathy Rare in Children With Type 1 Diabetes

HealthDay News — Treated diabetic retinopathy is extremely rare among children with type 1 diabetes, according to research published in Diabetes Care.

Giovanna Beauchamp, MD, from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues used data from the T1D Exchange Clinic Registry to examine how often treatable diabetic retinopathy was reported among young people. Information was collected about treatment for diabetic retinopathy for 12,535 patients aged younger than 21 years who were not pregnant.

The researchers found that 45 participants (0.36%) self-reported treatment for diabetic retinopathy. Of those 45 participants reporting diabetic retinopathy and for whom an ophthalmologist report was available or for whom treatment history was known (12 and 33, respectively), none had actually received diabetic retinopathy treatment.

“The negligible yield of possibly treatable and treated eye lesions compounded by the considerable financial burden associated with eye exams suggests that current guidelines for diabetic retinopathy screening in youth with type 1 diabetes may not be cost-effective,” the researchers wrote. “While additional studies are needed before firm recommendations can be made, liberalization of pediatric diabetic retinopathy screening guidelines may be justified and could allow for utilization of saved resources in areas historically lacking support such as mental health and nutrition counseling.”

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  1. Beauchamp G, Boyle CT, Tamborlane WV, et al. Treatable diabetic retinopathy is extremely rare among pediatric T1D Exchange Clinic Registry participants. Diabetes Care. 2016 Oct 7. doi:10.2337/dc16-1691.