Elevated risk of eye problems in children with diabetic mothers

Scientists find that children of mothers who had diabetes before or during their pregnancy have a greater risk of high refractive error

pregnant woman

Researchers from China and Denmark have found that the children of women who have diabetes before or during pregnancy are more likely to develop high refractive error.

The study, which was published in Diabetologia, involved examining data from 2,470,580 babies born between 1977 and 2016 in Denmark.

The proportion of mothers with diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational) before or during pregnancy increased from 0.4% in 1977 to 6.5% in 2016.

Children whose mothers had diabetes had a 39% greater chance of high refractive error compared to children without diabetic mothers.

The researchers emphasised that because many forms of refractive error in young children are treatable early intervention can have a “lifelong positive impact.”

The study authors highlight the potential for early screening to improve eye health outcomes.

“Early ophthalmological screening should be recommended in offspring of mothers with diabetes diagnosed before or during pregnancy,” the conclude.