Does daily dietary intake affect diabetic retinopathy progression? 10-year results from the 45 and Up Study

Xixi Yan, Xiaotong Han, Changfan Wu, Stuart Keel, Xianwen Shang, Lei Zhang, Mingguang He

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Background/aims: To evaluate the associations of dietary consumption with the 10-year incidence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) progression in working-aged Australians with diabetes. Methods: We obtained longitudinal data of all diabetic subjects aged 45-65 years from the baseline of the 45 and Up Study and linked this data with Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme claims until 2016. Retinal photocoagulation (RPC), as determined based on the MBS data, was used as a proxy measure of DR progression. Dietary measurements were assessed via self-reported consumption of meat, dairy products, whole-meal bread, breakfast cereal, vegetables, fruit and fruit juice using a self-administered questionnaire at baseline. Cox regression was used to assess the association between dietary consumption and incident RPC during the follow-up period. Results: A total of 8122 participants were included in the current analysis with a mean age of 57.2±5.2 years. During a mean follow-up of 8.6 years, 314 participants (3.8% of baseline) received RPC. Higher consumption of cheese and whole-meal bread was associated with a lower risk of incident RPC, with the HRs of the highest quartiles versus the lowest being 0.58 (95% CI 0.41 to 0.83; test for trend, p=0.007) and 0.64 (0.46 to 0.89; p=0.04), respectively. Body mass index, insulin treatment and gender were significant modifiers for the association between cheese/whole-meal bread and RPC. Conclusion: Consumption of cheese and whole-meal bread could reduce the risk of DR progression among the working-aged Australian population with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1774-1780
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • diabetic retinopathy
  • epidemiology
  • public health

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