Obesity during pregnancy and long-term risk for ophthalmic morbidity - a population-based study with a follow-up of more than a decade Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: To investigate whether patients with a history of obesity during pregnancy have an increased risk for subsequent long-term ophthalmic complications, after controlling for diabetes and preeclampsia. Methods: A population-based study compared the incidence of long-term maternal ophthalmic complications in a cohort of women with and without a history of obesity during pregnancy. Deliveries occurred between the years 1988 and 2013, with a mean follow-up duration of 12 years. Results: During the study period 106 220 deliveries met the inclusion criteria; 2.2% (n = 2353) occurred in patients with a diagnosis of obesity during at least one of their pregnancies. These patients had a significantly higher incidence of ophthalmic complications in total and specifically of diabetic retinopathy. Using a Kaplan-Meier survival curve, we found that patients with a history of obesity during pregnancy had a significantly higher cumulative incidence of ophthalmic complications. Using a Cox proportional hazards model, adjusted for confounders such as maternal age, preeclampsia and diabetes mellitus, we found obesity during pregnancy remained independently associated with ophthalmic complications (adjusted HR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.4-4.2; p = 0.003). Conclusion: Obesity during pregnancy is an independent risk factor for long-term ophthalmic complications, and specifically diabetic retinopathy.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016