Retinal Arteriolar Narrowing Predicts Incidence of Diabetes Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective

    To examine the relationship of retinal vascular caliber to incident diabetes in a population-based cohort.

    Research design and methods

    The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) Study recruited adults aged 25+ years across Australia in 1999-2000, with a follow-up 5 years later in 2004-2005. Participants' glycemic status was classified using fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and 2-h oral glucose tolerance (2-h plasma glucose [2hPG]) tests. Diabetes was diagnosed if FPG was >or=7.0 mmol/l or 2hPG was >or=11.1 mmol/l. Retinal vascular caliber was measured from baseline retinal photographs using a computer-assisted program.


    Of the 803 participants without diabetes at baseline, 108 (13.4%) developed diabetes at follow-up: 7 (2.8%) of 246 participants with normal glucose tolerance, 9 (13.6%) of 66 participants with impaired fasting glucose, and 92 (18.7%) of 491 participants with impaired glucose tolerance. After multivariate analysis, participants with narrower retinal arteriolar caliber had a higher risk of diabetes (odds ratio 2.21 [95% CI 1.02-4.80], comparing smallest versus highest arteriolar caliber tertiles, P = 0.04 for trend). There was no association between retinal venular caliber and incident diabetes.


    Narrower retinal arteriolar caliber predicted risk of diabetes. These data provide further evidence that microvascular changes may contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetes.


  • Nguyen, Thanh T
  • Wang, Jie Jin
  • Islam, FM Amirul
  • Mitchell, Paul
  • Tapp, Robyn J
  • Zimmet, Paul Z
  • Simpson, Richard
  • Shaw, Jonathan
  • Wong, Tien Y

publication date

  • March 2008