Diabetic Dermopathy (Shin Spots) and Diabetic Retinopathy - Are They Associated?

Author(s): Niya Babu1 , Nima Teresa Andrew2 , Mercy Paul3 , Chakkalackal Varkey Anthrayose4 , Anchitha Meenu Rajeev5 , Rakendu Puthiyedath6 , Amitha Sunny7 , Sreelakshmi K.T. Arun8

BACKGROUND Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a major cause of avoidable blindness in the developing and the developed countries. Diabetic patients have 25 times more chance of becoming blind than the non-diabetics.1 According to the WHO, the number of people in India affected with Diabetes Mellitus in the year 2000 was 31.7 million which is estimated to rise to 79.4 million by 2030, which would be higher than any other country in the world. 75 percent of all Type 2 diabetics and almost all Type 1 diabetics are expected to develop diabetic retinopathy (DR) over a period of time.2 Diabetic dermopathy or shin spots are the commonest dermatological manifestation in patients with Diabetes Mellitus. It is also known as pigmented pretibial patches, spotted leg syndrome or diabetic dermangiopathy.3 Both diabetic retinopathy and dermopathy are manifestations of diabetic microangiopathy. We wanted to study the association between diabetic retinopathy and diabetic dermopathy. METHODS 182 patients (between 40 - 70 years of age) having diabetes mellitus for at least five years were included in the study and were examined for retinal changes and skin changes. The study period was six months. RESULTS Of the 182 diabetic patients included in this study, 106 (58.2 %) had diabetic retinopathy. Shin spots were seen in 158 cases (86.8 %). 100 (94.3 %) cases with diabetic retinopathy had shin spots. The mean duration of diabetes mellitus in patients with diabetic retinopathy was 11.85 years and it was 8.16 years in those without diabetic retinopathy. The mean duration of diabetes mellitus in patients with shin spots was 14.88 years and it was 10.70 years in those without shin spots. CONCLUSIONS There is significant association between diabetic retinopathy and diabetic dermopathy.