The goal of this study was to evaluate the association between menarchalstatus and diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy was present in 51 of 129 females; 7 were premenarchal, and 44 were postmenarchal. The range of severity of retinopathy was greater in the postmenarchal group. In multivariateanalyses, duration of diabetes, menarchal status, and diastolic blood pressure were associated with the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy. After partitioning the duration of diabetes into years before and years after menarche, both were significant, but the number of years of diabetes after menarche was more strongly associated. At a 4-yr follow-up examination, more postmenarchal than premenarchal females had progression of their retinopathy (P = 0.06). These data suggest that stage of sexual development, as reflected by menarchal status, is associated with the presence and possibly the risk of progression of diabetic retinopathy.

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