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Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is prevalent in around 35% of people with diabetes (1).

  • global prevalence of proliferative DR (PDR) among patients with diabetes is estimated to be 7.5 %
  • prevalence of any DR and PDR was higher in those with type 1 diabetes, compared to those with type 2 diabetes (2)

DR is the leading cause of blindness among the working-age group (20-64 years) in developed countries

  • the prevalence of blindness caused by DR is increasing despite the availability of effective treatment
    • in England, Wales, and Scotland - between February 1999 and March 2000, the number of patients on the blind register as a result of diabetic retinopathy in working age group was 2.05 per 100,000 population compared with 1.26 per 100,000 population in 1990-1 (3)

Around one third of DR patients are afflicted with vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy (VTDR), defined as severe non-proliferative DR or proliferative DR (PDR) or the presence of diabetic macular oedema (DME)

  • PDR is the most common vision threatening lesion especially in type 1 diabetes patients
  • DME is responsible for most of the visual loss experienced by patients with diabetes as it remains the major cause of vision loss in the highly prevalent type 2 diabetes (2)


Last reviewed 12/2020