Page last updated:March 8, 2017
Association of alcohol intake with risk of diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a common microvascular complication of diabetes mellitus. The associations of alcohol intake with diabetic retinopathy risk have demonstrated contradictory results.

A meta analysis was performed using relevant studies. Studies were identified by searching electronic databases (Medline, EMBASE and Web of Science) until May 2016. A total of 12,875 diabetic retinopathy cases among 37,285 participants in 15 observational studies were identified. The pooled estimation of all the included observational studies was 0.91 (95% CI, 0.79 to 1.06) in a random-effect model.

Analyses stratified by study design showed no significant association between alcohol intake and DR incidence in cohort, case control or crosssectional studies. In the subgroup analyses, neither beer nor spirits intake were associated with diabetic retinopathy risk. Protective effects were detected in the wine (OR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.64 to 0.92) and sherry (OR = 0.22, 95% CI = 0.05 to 0.95) groups.

The researchers conclude that their meta-analysis demonstrated that alcohol intake was not associated with risk of diabetic retinopathy, but subgroup analysis by alcoholic beverage types showed that wine consumption would reduce its incidence In the future, more large-scale prospective studies with detailed alcohol subtypes and contents are still warranted to clarify the association, the researchers state.

Source: Association of alcohol intake with risk of diabetic retinopathy: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Zhu W; Meng YF; Wu Y; Xu M; Lu J, Scientific Reports, Vol 7, Art No 4, 2017, 9pp.

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