Diabetic Eye Diseases
A leading cause of blindness in the U.S.Condition
The same pathologic mechanisms in diabetes that damage the kidneys and other organs affect the microcirculation of the eye. Often, by the time many patients seek ophthalmologic examination and treatment, there are significant alterations of the retinal microvasculature. Therefore, a fundamental understanding of diabetic eye disease is important for non-ophthalmologists so that appropriate referral to eye-care specialists can be a part of their diabetes management.
The principal factor related to the development or worsening of diabetic retinopathy is glucose control. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), a random, controlled study of 1441 patients with Type I diabetes, found that an intensive glucose control regimen reduced the risk of developing retinopathy by 76 percent.
The National Society to Prevent Blindness has estimated that 4 to 6 million diabetics in the U.S. have diabetic retinopathy.
Vision loss Treatment Tight glucose and blood pressure control are critical systemic factors in managing the progression of diabetic retinopathy. Ocular complications of diabetes are addressed directly through treatment with laser photocoagulation or surgery.