Purpose: To report the longitudinal association between use of thiazolidinediones (TZDs), visual acuity (VA) change, and diabetic eye disease incidence and progression. Design: Cohort study ancillary to a randomized clinical trial. Methods: We analyzed baseline and 4-year follow-up data of 2856 ACCORD trial participants with no history of proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Based on stereoscopic fundus photographs, we evaluated diabetic macular edema (DME) progression and DR progression. We also evaluated 10- and 15-letter change on the ETDRS visual acuity chart. Main outcome measures were incidence or progression of DME or DR and change in visual acuity. Results: TZD use was not associated with DME incidence in either the analysis of any use (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] [95% CI]: 1.22 [0.72–2.05]) or duration of use (aOR: 1.02 [0.99–1.04]). Diabetic retinopathy (DR) incidence/progression was more common in patients with no or mild DR at baseline who were ever treated with TZDs (aOR: 1.68 [1.11–2.55]), but this association disappeared when adjusting for the time on TZD (aOR: 1.02 [1.00–1.04]). DR progression among those with moderate or worse DR at baseline was no different between TZD users and non-users. TZD usage had no effect on the ultimate visual acuity outcome. Conclusion: In this longitudinal study of patients with type 2 diabetes, we found no association between TZD use and visual acuity outcomes or DME progression, and no consistent evidence of increased DR progression in patients ever treated with TZDs vs those never treated with TZDs.
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