Researchers estimate prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in the US

Around 9.6 million people in the United States had diabetic retinopathy in 2021

Testing blood levels on finger
Pixabay/Tesa Robbins

US scientists have estimated the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy, finding that one in four patients with diabetes have the eye condition.

The research, which was published in JAMA Ophthalmology, determined that around 9.6 million people in the US had diabetic retinopathy in 2021. In the same year, 1.84 million people had vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy.

The authors highlighted that around one in four (26%) of people with diabetes in the US had diabetic retinopathy. One in 20 people with diabetes had a vision-threatening form of the condition.

The number of people with diabetic retinopathy in the US has more than doubled since it was last estimated in 2004, when 4.1 million people had the condition.

There was substantial variation in diabetic retinopathy prevalence between US states and counties.

“The US prevalence of diabetes-related eye disease remains high and may grow in the coming decades due to the increasing burden of diabetes among youth and adults,” the authors shared.