Ocular Complications in Children with Diabetes Mellitus.

Research paper by Megan M MM Geloneck, Brian J BJ Forbes, James J Shaffer, Gui-shuang GS Ying, Gil G Binenbaum

Indexed on: 06 Sep '15Published on: 06 Sep '15Published in: Ophthalmology


The effectiveness of annual eye examinations in diabetic children is unclear. We sought to determine the prevalence and onset of ocular pathology in children with diabetes mellitus (DM), identify risk factors for ocular disease, and recommend a screening regimen for asymptomatic children.Retrospective, consecutive cohort study.Children aged less than 18 years with type 1 or 2 DM examined over a 4-year period.All children underwent a complete eye examination, including dilated fundoscopy and cycloplegic refraction. A literature review was performed, identifying the youngest reported age and shortest reported duration of DM before the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy (DR).Prevalence of DR, cataract, high refractive error, and strabismus.A total of 370 children (mean age, 11.2 years; range, 1-17.5 years) had 693 examinations, with a mean DM duration of 5.2 years (range, 0.1-16.2 years) and a mean hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) of 8.6 (range, 5-≥14). No children had DR. A total of 12 children had cataract; 5 required extraction but were identified by decreased vision, not diabetic screening. A total of 19 children had strabismus; only 1 was microvascular paralytic strabismus. A total of 41 children had high refractive error. There were no associations between these conditions and duration or control of DM. In the literature, the youngest age at diagnosis of severe DR was 15 years, and the shortest duration of disease was 5 years.Diabetic retinopathy is rare in children regardless of duration and control of DM. On the basis of our study and literature review, screening examinations for type 1 diabetes could begin at age 15 years or at 5 years after the diagnosis of DM, whichever occurs later, unless the child is judged by the endocrinologist as being at unusually high risk. Other ocular complications are identifiable through existing amblyopia screening methods.