Review of the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in Indigenous Australians

Georgia Kaidonis, Richard Mills, John Landers, Stewart Lake, Kathryn Burdon, Jamie Craig

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    The purpose of this review is to compare the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians with Diabetes Mellitus (DM). Australian DR prevalence data from 6 Indigenous studies (n=2865) and 5 non-Indigenous studies (n=9801) conducted between 1985 and 2013 were included for analysis. Estimated prevalence of any DR among Indigenous Australians with DM was 23.4% compared with 28.9% for non-Indigenous Australians (χ2=26.9, P<0.001). In studies performed after 1990, a significantly higher rate of diabetic macular edema was found in Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous Australians with DM (7.6% versus 4.9%, χ2=6.67, P=0.01). Although there are limitations in comparing these studies, one explanation for the observed data could be a model in which Indigenous Australians are relatively resistant to early stage DR, but with a subset progressing to sight threatening DR due to individual genetic and environmental susceptibility factors coupled with poor glycemic control.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)875-882
    Number of pages8
    JournalClinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


    • Aboriginal Australian
    • Diabetic retinopathy
    • Epidemiology


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