Diabet. Med. 29, e112–e116 (2012)
Aim This study reports the incidence of visual impairment certification due to diabetic retinopathy in Leeds between 2008 and 2010 and makes a comparison with data from 2005, immediately before the introduction of a comprehensive screening service.
Methods The primary causes of visual impairment certification between 2008 and 2010 were collected and reviewed. Mid-year population estimates and a diabetes prevalence model were used to determine the incidence of certification secondary to diabetic retinopathy.
Results Diabetic retinopathy was the primary cause of visual impairment certification in 33 of 446 (7.4%) certificates in 2008, 34 of 410 (8.3%) certificates in 2009 and 24 of 392 (6.1%) in 2010. For the total population in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the combined incidence of either sight impairment or severe sight impairment due to diabetic retinopathy was 42.3, 43.2 and 30 per million per year, respectively. For the population with diagnosed diabetes mellitus, the combined incidence of either sight impairment or severe sight impairment secondary to diabetic retinopathy was 1227, 1192 and 796 per million per year, respectively. For each year, the incidence of visual impairment was lower than the corresponding figure for 2005.
Conclusion Following the introduction of a comprehensive retinal screening service, the incidence of visual impairment certification secondary to diabetic retinopathy in the Leeds Metropolitan area appears to be decreasing. However, a multifaceted approach, addressing all the avoidable risk factors, may be required to maintain this trend in view of the increasing prevalence of Type 2 diabetes.