Prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in India stratified by known and undiagnosed diabetes, urban-rural locations, and socioeconomic indices: results from the SMART India population-based cross-sectional screening study

SMART India Study Collaborators

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: National and subnational estimates of the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy and vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy (VTDR) are needed to inform the stepwise implementation of systematic retinal screening for people with diabetes in India to decrease the rate of blindness. We aimed to assess these national and subnational estimates and to stratify the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy and VTDR on the basis of people with known versus undiagnosed diabetes, urban versus rural residence, and epidemiological transition level (ETL) and Socio-demographic Index (SDI) categories of states. METHODS: We did a multicentre cross-sectional screening study for diabetic retinopathy using a complex cluster sampling design in people aged 40 years or older in ten Indian states and one union territory between Dec 20, 2018, and March 20, 2020. We did non-mydriatic retinal screening and assessed risk factor burden for people with diabetes. We estimated nationally weighted prevalence of diabetic retinopathy and VTDR for individuals with known and undiagnosed diabetes by urban versus rural residence, and by state categorisation by ETL and SDI. We also assessed adjusted risk factors. FINDINGS: From 42 146 participants screened, 7910 (18·8%) were identified to have diabetes. Of these, 6133 (77·5%; 4350 with known diabetes and 1783 with undiagnosed diabetes) had gradable retinal images. 3411 (56%) participants were women and 2722 (44%) were men, and the median age was 56 years (IQR 49-65). The estimated national prevalence was 12·5% (95% CI 11·0-14·2) for diabetic retinopathy and 4·0% (3·4-4·8) for VTDR, with no significant differences between urban and rural residence for diabetic retinopathy. Compared with individuals with undiagnosed diabetes, we observed a higher prevalence of diabetic retinopathy (15·5% [13·4-17·8] vs 8·0% [6·3-10·1]) and VTDR (5·3% [4·5-6·3] vs 2·4% [1·6-3·6]) in individuals with known diabetes. The prevalence was significantly lower in low ETL-SDI states compared with high and middle ETL-SDI states for diabetic retinopathy (by 7·0%, 1·9-12·2, p=0·024) and VTDR (by 4·8%, 3·0-6·6, p<0·0001). Hyperglycaemia was the strongest modifiable risk factor. INTERPRETATION: We estimate that, in absolute numbers, approximately 3 million people aged 40 years or older have VTDR in India, with a higher prevalence in those with known diabetes residing in high and middle ETI-SDI states. FUNDING: UKRI Global Challenge Research Fund.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1764-e1773
JournalThe Lancet. Global health
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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