Macular thinning in prediabetes or type 2 diabetes without diabetic retinopathy: the Maastricht Study.

De Clerck EEB, Schouten JSAG, Berendschot TTJM, Goezinne F, Dagnelie PC, Schaper NC, Schram MT, Stehouwer CDA, Webers CAB.


To assess macular thinning in individuals with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes without diabetic retinopathy (DM2 w/o DR) compared with individuals with normal glucose metabolism (NGM).


Using spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), we measured macular thickness in six subfields as defined by the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) in 1838 participants from The Maastricht Study, a population-based cohort study (mean age 59 ± 8 years, 49% men, 1087 NGM, 279 prediabetes, 472 DM2 w/o DR). Multivariable linear regression was used to assess the association between macular thickness and glucose metabolism status.


After adjustment for age, sex and spherical equivalent, individuals with prediabetes showed a significant decrease in pericentral superior macular thickness [β = -2.14 μm (95% confidence interval (CI): -4.24 to -0.03), p < 0.05] compared with individuals with NGM. In individuals with DM2 w/o DR, the fovea [β = -4.05 μm (95% CI: -6.30 to -1.79), p < 0.001] and the four pericentral quadrants (range: β = -4.64 to -5.29 μm, p < 0.001) were significantly thinner compared with individuals with NGM. There was a significant linear trend of macular thinning with severity of glucose metabolism status in five subfields (p < 0.001).


Macular thickness is reduced in prediabetes and a greater reduction occurs in DM2, even before DR is clinically present. About half of the thinning observed in DM2 w/o DR was already found in prediabetes. Generalized thinning of the macula could be related to thinning of the temporal side of the optic nerve head through the connecting papillo-macular bundle.