Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

AIMS: We investigated the association between alcohol consumption and diabetic retinopathy and deterioration of visual acuity in individuals with Type 2 diabetes. METHODS: We conducted a cohort analysis of 1239 participants with Type 2 diabetes aged 55-81 years enrolled in the AdRem study, a sub-study of the Action in Diabetes and Vascular Disease: Preterax and Diamicron MR Controlled Evaluation (ADVANCE) trial. Current and past consumption of wine, spirits and beer was measured by self-report. Moderate and heavy alcohol consumption was defined as 1-14 and >14 drinks/week, respectively. Diabetic retinopathy, measured by mydriatic stereoscopic seven-field retinal photography, was defined by a 2-step progression in the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) score or the presence of any retinal vascular lesions. Deterioration of visual acuity was defined by a decrease of two lines in best vision in either eye, measured corrected, or through a pinhole using a Snellen chart. RESULTS: In a mean follow-up of 5.5 years, we identified 182 participants with a 2-step progression in the ETDRS score, 640 participants with the presence of any retinal vascular lesions and 693 participants with a deterioration of visual acuity. Current moderate consumption of alcohol, compared with no current consumption, was not associated with presence or progression of diabetic retinopathy; however, it was associated with higher risk of deterioration of visual acuity (multivariable-adjusted OR 1.83; 95% CI 1.34-2.48; P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of deterioration of visual acuity, but not with retinopathy in individuals with Type 2 diabetes.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetic medicine : a journal of the British Diabetic Association

Publication Date





1130 - 1137


MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK.


AdRem project team and ADVANCE management committee, Humans, Diabetic Retinopathy, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Disease Progression, Alcohol Drinking, Visual Acuity, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, North America, Asia, Australia, Europe, Female, Male, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic