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Diabetes and Endocrinology - Ophthalmology - Public Health and Epidemiology

Prevalence of Diabetic Retinopathy in Mainland China: A Meta-Analysis
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Author: Lei Liu et al.

by Lei Liu, Xiaomei Wu, Limin Liu, Jin Geng, Zhe Yuan, Zhongyan Shan, Lei Chen


Although diabetic retinopathy (DR) is considered to be a major cause of blindness, this is the first meta-analysis to investigate the pooled prevalence of DR in mainland China.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We conducted a search of all English reports on population-based studies for the prevalence of DR using Medline, EMbase, Web of Science, Google (scholar), and all Chinese reports were identified manually and on-line using CBMDisc, Chongqing VIP database, and CNKI database. A meta-analysis was carried out. The fixed effects model or random effects model was used as a statistical test for homogeneity. Nineteen studies were included. The prevalence of DR, non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) in the pooled general population was 1.3% (95%CI: 0.5%–3.2%), 1.1% (95%CI: 0.6%–2.1%), and 0.1% (95%CI: 0.1%–0.3%), respectively, but was 23% (95%CI: 17.8%–29.2%), 19.1% (95%CI: 13.6%–26.3%), and 2.8% (95%CI: 1.9%–4.2%) in the diabetic group. The prevalence rate of DR in the pooled rural population was higher than that in the urban population, 1.6% (95%CI: 1.3%–2%), and the diabetic population, 29.1% (95%CI: 20.9%–38.9%). The prevalence of DR was higher in the Northern region compared with the Southern region.


The prevalence of DR in mainland China appeared a little high, and varied according to area. NPDR was more common. This study highlights the necessity for DR screening in the rural areas of China.