Natural history of retinopathy in children and young people with type 1 diabetes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • N Dhillon
  • A Karthikeyan
  • A Castle
  • P Dodson
  • Wolfgang Hoegler
  • J Kirk
  • J Nolan

External organisations

  • Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Birmingham Children's Hospital
  • Aston University
  • Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom.


PurposeTo describe the prevalence and natural history of retinopathy in a cohort of children and young people with type 1 diabetes attending a tertiary hospital diabetes clinic.MethodsWe analysed retinopathy screening data from 2008 to 2010 on all eligible children using the 'Twinkle' diabetes database and the regional retinal screening database.ResultsA total of 88% (149/169) of eligible children were screened in 2008, median age 14 years, 52% male. The prevalence of retinopathy was 19.5% (30/149). All children had background retinopathy grade R1. There was significant difference in median (range) duration of diabetes, 7.7 years (0.6-13.7) vs 5 years (0.2-12.5) (P<0.001) and median (range) HbA1C, 9.1% (7.2-14) vs 8.6% (5.6-13.1) (P=0.02), between the groups with and without retinopathy. At 2- years follow-up, 12/30 (40%) had unchanged retinopathy grade R1, 10/30 (33.3%) showed resolution of changes (R0), 1/30 progressed to maculopathy, and 7/30 had no follow-up data. Median (range) HbA1C in 2008 and 2010 for the groups with stable vs resolved changes was similar, 9.1% (7.2-14.0) and 9.2% (7-14.0) vs 9.5% (7.8-14.0) and 9.2% (8.7-14.0). Of the 119 without retinopathy in 2008, 27 (22.5%) had developed retinopathy within 2 years, including 1 with pre-proliferative retinopathy and 1 with maculopathy. There was no significant difference in HbA1c between those who progressed to retinopathy (8.7% (7.1-13.1)) (8.7% (7.1-13.1)), and those who did not (8.6% (6.3-12.2)).ConclusionsPrevalence of background retinopathy in our cohort was comparable to the previously published reports, with higher HbA1c and longer duration of diabetes being significant risk factors. On short-term follow-up, Grade 1 retinopathy is likely to resolve in a third of patients and remain unchanged in just over a third.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-91
Number of pages5
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Adolescent, Blood Glucose, Child, Databases, Factual, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Diabetic Retinopathy, Female, Hemoglobin A, Glycosylated, Humans, Male, Prevalence, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors, Tertiary Care Centers, Time Factors, United Kingdom, Journal Article