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Derm News: 2007.12(1)

Dermopathy and Retinopathy in Diabetes: Is There an Association?

Dermatology 2007;214(2):133-136
Ali Abdollahi, Maryam Daneshpazhooh, Elham Amirchaghmaghi, Samira Sheikhi, Babak Eshrati, Mohammad-Hassan Bastanhagh


Diabetic dermopathy is the most common cutaneous marker of diabetes mellitus presenting as single or multiple well-demarcated brown atrophic macules, predominantly on the shins. Although diabetic dermopathy and diabetic retinopathy are both considered by some authors as manifestations of diabetic microangiopathy, only a few studies are published about their possible association. Our purpose was to investigate the association of diabetic dermopathy and diabetic retinopathy.


We conducted a cross-sectional study in an outpatient diabetes clinic during a 6-month period. One-hundred and eighty-one consecutive patients (8 cases of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and 173 cases of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) were examined for the presence of diabetic dermopathy and diabetic retinopathy.


Forty-seven (26%) showed diabetic dermopathy and 68 patients (37.6%) suffered from diabetic retinopathy. The frequency of retinopathy in patients with diabetic dermopathy (44%; 30 cases) was significantly greater than in patients without dermopathy (15%; 17 cases; p < 0.0001). Retinopathy showed a statistically significant association with dermopathy [odds ratio (OR): 3.60; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.53-8.44; p = 0.003] and diabetes duration (OR: 3.36; 95% CI: 1.67-6.77; p = 0.001).


Our study further supports that diabetic dermopathy might be used as a telltale sign of diabetic retinopathy, necessitating more intensive ophthalmologic care, especially in long-lasting diabetes.

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The Derm News service provided by the Editorial Consultants of Skin Therapy Letter© and its founding editor Dr. Stuart Maddin.