The incidence of one of the most common complications of type 1 diabetes appears to be in decline, according to researchers in Finland.
Led by Dr Per-Henrik Groop from Helsinki University Central Hospital, the team studied the rate of severe retinopathy in people with type 1 diabetes diagnosed between 1939 and 2005. They grouped 3,781 patients from Finland according to the year they were diagnosed: before 1975, 1975-1979, 1980-1984 and 1985 and after. Severe retinopathy was assessed according to how many laser treatments patients had received.
The results, published in the September issue of Diabetes Care, reveal a decreasing incidence of severe diabetic retinopathy after 20-30 years of type 1 diabetes. People born in the 1980s were almost 50 per cent less likely to have had severe retinopathy after 20 years than people born in the 1970s or earlier.
Much of this improvement can be attributed to advances in the detection and treatment of retinopathy. The earliest groups may also have had much poorer glucose control earlier in their lives.
JDRF is committed to beating the complications of type 1 diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy. We want to make sure that people with type 1 diabetes stay as healthy as possible while we search for the cure. Through research funded by JDRF, we are now better able to diagnose, treat and prevent the complications of type 1 diabetes.
Read more about JDRF complications research.