Aims: To describe trends in the incidence of visual impairment and blindness due to diabetic retinopathy among adults aged 18-69 years in Ireland between 2004 and 2013.
Methods: Data on visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy in adults aged 18-69 years or over who are registered with the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, (2004-2013) were analysed. Annual incidence rates were calculated for the adult population and the population with diagnosed diabetes. Poisson regression was used to test for changes in rates over time. The relative, attributable and population risk of blindness and visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy were calculated for 2013.
Results: Over the decade, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes increased from 2.1% to 3.6%. Among people with diagnosed diabetes, the incidence of visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy increased from 6.4 (95% CI 2.4-13.9) per 100,000 in 2004 to 11.7 (95% CI 5.9-21.0) per 100,000 in 2013. The incidence of blindness due to diabetic retinopathy varied from 31.9 per 100,000 (95% CI 21.6-45.7) in 2004 to 14.9 per 100,000 (95% CI 8.2-25.1) in 2013.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate the need for increased attention to preventive measures for microvascular complications among adults with diabetes in Ireland. Retinopathy screening has been standardised in Ireland, these findings provide useful baseline statistics to monitor the impact of this population-based screening programme. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.