Dyslipidemia and Diabetic Macular Edema: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Radha Das, Rebecca Kerr, Usha Chakravarthy, Ruth E. Hogg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Topic: A systematic review and meta-analysis of dyslipidemia and diabetic macular edema (DME). 

Clinical Relevance: Diabetic macular edema causes impairment of vision in patients with diabetes, and dyslipidemia has been reported as a risk factor for its development. A systematic review with a meta-analysis was undertaken to examine the evidence of an association between dyslipidemia and DME. 

Methods: We defined eligibility criteria as randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies reporting on the relationship between blood lipid levels and DME. We performed a literature search in MEDLINE, PubMed, and Embase from inception to September 2014. We used the NewcastleeOttawa scale to assess the quality of case-control, cross-sectional, and cohort studies, and the Cochrane risk of bias tool for RCTs. 

Results: The search strategy identified 4959 publications. After screening, we selected 21 articles for review (5 cross-sectional, 5 cohort, 7 case-control, and 4 RCTs). Meta-analysis of case-control studies revealed that mean levels of total serum cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), and serum triglycerides (TGs) were significantly higher in patients with DME compared with those without DME (TC: 30.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 21.14e39.02; P < 0.001; LDL: 18.62; 95% CI, 5.80e31.43; P < 0.05; TG: 24.82; 95% CI, 9.21e40.42; P < 0.05). Meta-analysis of RCTs did not show significant risk in worsening of hard exudates and severity of DME in the lipid-lowering group compared with placebo (hard exudates: relative risk, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.47e2.11; P ¼ 1.00; DME: relative risk, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.75e1.86; P ¼ 0.48). 

Conclusions: Despite evidence from the cohort studies and meta-analysis of the case-control studies suggesting a strong relationship between lipid levels and DME, this was not confirmed by the meta-analysis that included only prospective RCTs. Therefore, given the significant public health relevance of the topic, the relationship between lipid levels and DME deserves further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1820-0827
Number of pages8
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015

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