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Prevalence of Diabetic Retinopathy in a Clinic Population from Puerto Rico

Rodriguez, Neisha M.; Aguilar, Stephanie

Optometry and Vision Science: July 2016 - Volume 93 - Issue 7 - p 750–753
doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000854

Purpose Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a preventable or treatable cause of blindness in the adult population. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in Puerto Ricans is the highest among Hispanics. This study evaluated the prevalence of DR in a screening program of DM subjects in a clinic system in Puerto Rico.

Methods A retrospective cross-sectional health records study of DM patients referred by primary care physicians for dilated retinal evaluation to the Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry Juana Diaz Eye Institute Clinic between 2001 and 2009 was performed. All subjects underwent a complete eye evaluation including fundus photography. Photographs were graded following the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study protocols.

Results A total of 411 randomly selected health records of DM subjects older than 30 years were included. The estimated prevalence of DR among all subjects is 37.7%. DR was more common in males (47.2%) than females (33.7%). The age range with higher frequency of DR is among ages 60 to 69 (34.8%) and the lowest between ages 30 and 39 (3.9%). The average number of years since initial DM diagnosis was 12.48. Probability of developing DR increases with longer duration of DM (p < 0.05). The most common stage was mild non-proliferative DR (22.6%).

Conclusions Our data revealed that prevalence of DR was high among Puerto Ricans. Mild stage retinopathy was most prevalent and there exists an increase in probability to develop DR with duration of DM. The prevalence of DR in total population may be different than the findings presented in this paper. Comprehensive studies are needed to understand and estimate the progression and impact of DR in this population.



Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry, Bayamón, Puerto Rico.

Neisha M. Rodriguez IAUPR School of Optometry 500 John Will Harris Bayamón, PR 00956 e-mail:

© 2016 American Academy of Optometry