Background: Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is commonly associated with diabetic retinopathy (DR). Few studies have demonstrated that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with DR. However, it is not clear if CKD in the absence of albuminuria is associated with DR. Methods: We included 301 participants with diabetes (Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicity aged ≥24 years who participated in the Singapore Prospective Study Program (2003-2007). Retinal photographs taken from both eyes were graded for DR using the modified Airlie House Classification. We examined the association of CKD defined by low estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) (<60mL/min per 1.73m2, n=54), and albuminuria (urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio ≥30, n = 116) with any-DR (n=99) in logistic regression models. We replicated this analysis in another independent population-based sample of Malay adults (n=265) with similar methodology in Singapore. Results: 41% of those with low-eGFR had normoalbuminuria. In separate models, while albuminuria was significantly associated with any-DR, low-eGFR was not significantly associated with any-DR. In a model combining both markers, compared to the referent group (normal-eGFR+normoalbuminuria), the odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval [CI]) of any-DR were: 2.33 (1.27-4.27) for normal-eGFR+albuminuria, 1.38 (0.49-3.91) for low-eGFR + normoalbuminuria, and 2.64 (1.05-6.63) for low-eGFR+albuminuria. Similar findings for any-DR were observed in the replication cohort of Malay persons (3.56 [1.49-8.54] for normal-eGFR+albuminuria, 1.69 (0.52-5.55) for low-eGFR+normoalbuminuria, 4.34 [1.68-11.24] for low-eGFR+albuminuria. Conclusion: We demonstrated that CKD is associated with DR only in the presence of albuminuria suggesting that CKD is more likely related to diabetes in the presence of albuminuria.

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Journal of Diabetes
Department of Ophthalmology

Sabanayagam, C., Foo, V. H. X., Ikram, K., Huang, H., Lim, S. C., Lamoureux, E., … Wong, T. Y. (2014). Is chronic kidney disease associated with diabetic retinopathy in Asian adults?. Journal of Diabetes, 6(6), 556–563. doi:10.1111/1753-0407.12148