Diabetes In Pregnancy Linked To Eye Problems In Children

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New research has shown that women who have diabetes before or during their pregnancy are more likely to have children who develop severe forms of eye problems.

Published in the August 17 issue of Diabetology, the long term study examined data from around 2.4 million people born in Denmark between 1977 and 2016.

The researchers, led by Jiangbo Du of the State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine at Nanjing Medical University in China, and Jiong Li of Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark, examined the association between the presence of diabetes and the risk of high refractive error (RE) in their offspring from birth to age 25.

Of these people, more than 56,000 were exposed to their mother’s diabetes during pregnancy, 0.9% of whom had type 1 diabetes; 0.3% with type 2 diabetes; and 1.1% with gestational diabetes, according to the study.

In 1977, 0.4% of mothers had diabetes during their pregnancy, compared to 6.5% of mothers in 2016. This increase was attributed to the fact that the mother was older, more educated, had multiple pregnancies and was more susceptible. to live alone, according to the new study. journal number.

During follow-up for up to 25 years, 553 children of diabetic mothers as well as 19,695 children of non-diabetic mothers were diagnosed with RE, according to the results.

In addition, prenatal exposure to maternal diabetes was found to be associated with a 39% increased risk of elevated ER.

These increased risks have been observed for farsightedness, myopia and astigmatism, and were more common in children of mothers with diabetic complications than in those whose diabetic mothers did not have diabetic complications.

Compared with unexposed offspring, the risk of ER was significantly higher in dams with type 1 diabetes (32%) or type 2 diabetes (68%), according to the study.

Additional results included that offspring of mothers with complications from diabetes were twice as likely to develop elevated ER, compared with only an 18% increase for those whose mothers did not have complications from diabetes.

Investigators concluded that early detection and intervention can have a lifelong positive impact on young children.2

“Although the increased risk of 39% is a relatively small effect size, from a public health perspective, given the high global prevalence of RE, any small improvement in this low-risk preventable factor will contribute to a huge reduction in the absolute number of these eye conditions, ”investigators reported.

The references
1. Du J, Li J, Liu X, et al. Association of maternal diabetes in pregnancy with high refractive error in offspring: a national population-based cohort study. Diabetology (2021).
2. Diabetology. Children of mothers with diabetes during pregnancy have an increased risk of eye problems, a new study finds. Posted on August 17, 2021.


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