Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Prevalence and risk factors for diabetic retinopathy in a high-risk Chinese population

Jiao Wang1, Ru-Yi Zhang1, Rong-Ping Chen1, Jia Sun1, Rui Yang1, Xiao-Yun Ke2, Hui Chen2 and De-Hong Cai1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Endocrinology, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China

2 Department of Ophthalmology, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, 253# industry road, Guangzhou 510282, China

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:633  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-633

Published: 5 July 2013



Lifestyle plays an important role in the development of diabetic retinopathy. The lifestyle in Guangzhou is different from other cities in China as the Cantonese prefer eating rice porridge, but not spicy foods. The objectives of this study were to investigate the prevalence and determinants of diabetic retinopathy in a high-risk population of Guangzhou.


Subjects (619 totals) aged over 45 years old, without known diabetes were recruited from five randomly selected Guangzhou communities in 2009–2010. All participants were invited to complete the Finnish Diabetes Risk Score (FINDRISC) questionnaire. Subjects with FINDRISC score ≥ 9 were included in the study, and underwent an investigation of demographic data, a standardized physical examination, ocular fundus examination, and laboratory analyses. The minimum criterion for diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy was the presence of at least one microaneurysm.


Of 619 subjects, 208 eligible subjects (122 women) with FINDRISC score ≥ 9 were included in the study. The mean age was 69.2 ± 8.5 years. Diabetic retinopathy was detected in 31 subjects, and the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in subjects with high risk for diabetes was 14.9%. In binary logistic regression analysis, risk factors associated with diabetic retinopathy were history of impaired glucose regulation [odds ratio (OR), 7.194; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.083, 47.810], higher hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c; OR, 2.912; 95% CI: 1.009, 8.402), higher two-hour postprandial plasma glucose level (OR, 1.014; 95% CI: 1.003, 1.025), and presence of microalbuminuria (OR, 5.387; 95% CI: 1.255, 23.129).


Diabetic retinopathy was prevalent in a high-risk Chinese population from Guangzhou. Histories of impaired glucose regulation and microalbuminuria were strong risk factors for diabetic retinopathy.

Finnish diabetes risk score; People with high risk for diabetes; Diabetic retinopathy; Prevalence; Risk factors