Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated With Retinopathy in Children and Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes

  1. Maria E. Craig, PHD, FRACP1,2,3
  1. 1School of Women’s and Children’s Health, University of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, Australia
  3. 3Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  1. Corresponding author: Maria E. Craig, m.craig{at}


OBJECTIVE To examine the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency (VDD) is associated with an increased prevalence of microvascular complications in young people with type 1 diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS In a cross-sectional study of 517 patients, 25-hydroxyvitamin D was measured. Retinopathy was assessed by 7-field stereoscopic retinal photography, peripheral neuropathy by thermal and vibration threshold testing, and microalbuminuria by albumin excretion rate or albumin-to-creatinine ratio.

RESULTS Retinopathy prevalence was higher in cases with VDD versus sufficiency (18 vs. 9%, P = 0.02); deficiency was not associated with microalbuminuria or neuropathy. In logistic regression, retinopathy was associated with VDD (odds ratio 2.12 [95% CI 1.03–4.33]), diabetes duration (1.13, 1.05–1.23), and HbA1c (1.24, 1.02–1.50).

CONCLUSIONS VDD is associated with an increased prevalence of retinopathy in young people with type 1 diabetes. The inflammatory and angiogenic effects of VDD may contribute to early retinal vascular damage; however, further investigations are warranted.

  • Received January 16, 2011.
  • Accepted March 27, 2011.

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This Article

  1. Diabetes Care
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