Euretina Congress

Euretina Congress

September 24, 2018
1 min read

Study finds correlation between fish intake, diabetic retinopathy severity in Asian population

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Leopold Schmetterer

VIENNA — A significant association between fish intake and severity of diabetic retinopathy was found in a study carried out in Singapore.

“Recently a favorable association between fish consumption and DR has been reported in several ethnic groups. Asian diet differs significantly from the Western diet, but data are lacking. We hypothesized that Asians with higher fish intake in their diet might have less severe DR,” Leopold Schmetterer, MD, said at the Euretina meeting.

The study was conducted within the Singapore Diabetes Management Project and was aimed at evaluating the association of dietary fish intake with the severity of diabetic retinopathy in Asian individuals with type 2 diabetes living in Singapore. Four hundred thirty-seven participants were administered a food frequency questionnaire over 3 years, and 357 were included in the final analysis

Diabetic retinopathy severity was classified as no retinopathy, minimal-moderate or severe, according to the ETDRS grading system. Frequency of fish intake was evaluated per day, per week and per month or never/rarely, with a standard serving of 90 g of fish.

“There was a clear correlation between cholesterol level and the severity of DR and a significant association with different stages of DR and fish intake. Greater fish consumption among type 2 diabetic patients appears to be protective against DR in this Asian population,” Schmetterer said.

These results are consistent with those of other studies in several ethnic groups. This suggests that a biological association between fish intake and diabetic retinopathy risk might be broadly consistent across ethnic boundaries, he said. – by Michela Cimberle


Schmetterer L, et al. Relationship of dietary fish intake to diabetic retinopathy in patients with type 2 diabetes. Presented at: Euretina; Sept. 20, 2018; Vienna.

Disclosure: Schmetterer reports no relevant financial disclosures.