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Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight

Close monitoring means type 1 patients can avoid retinopathy, study suggests

FRIDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Maintaining good control over one's blood sugar levels can help people with type 1 diabetes better avoid retinopathy, a serious disorder that damages the eye's retina, researchers say.

The findings come from a 25-year study that confirms prior large studies. The findings were published in the November issue of Ophthalmology.

The Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy also found that being male, having higher blood pressure, having protein in urine (a manifestation of diabetic kidney disease) and a greater body mass index also increased one's risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Maintaining glycemic control, based on blood levels of glycosylated hemoglobin A1 -- a measure of average blood sugar -- helped improve the condition in those that had it as well, regardless of how long the patient had type 1 diabetes or how far along the diabetic retinopathy was at the start of the study.

The almost 1,000 study participants had all been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before age 30, and were on insulin to combat it. All were initially evaluated between 1980 and 1982, and were followed up on periodically over 25 years. About half completed the entire study.

More information

The National Eye Institute has more about diabetic retinopathy.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology, news release, Nov. 3, 2008

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