Diabetic Retinopathy News
...continued from Current Diabetic Retinopathy News
Prevent Dangerous Falls with These Eye Health Tips
September 2012 National Falls Prevention Awareness Day is Saturday, Sept. 22, and it's a great time to do what you can to help elderly friends and family members stay safe from fall-related injury.
Start with good eye health, says Prevent Blindness America, because people with poor vision are more likely to have falls.
Install grab bars in bathtubs and near toilets. They can save lives among people with poor vision.
Diabetics should have annual eye exams to reduce the risk of vision loss associated with fluctuating blood sugar. And people with cataracts shouldn't delay their removal.
In fact, a recent study of Medicare beneficiaries found that those who underwent cataract removal had less risk of hip fracture one year later than those who did not have the cataract surgery during that time. (Read more about it in Cataract News.)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking these safety measures at home:
- Remove clutter such as shoes from stairs and walkways.
- Remove small rugs or secure them with double-sided tape.
- Make sure all commonly used items are in cabinets that are easily accessible without need for a step stool.
- Install grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathroom.
- Improve the lighting all over the house.
- Make sure staircases are well-lit and have good handrails.
- Always wear shoes, both indoors and out. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
Some Long-Term Diabetics May Be Protected From Diabetic Eye Disease
June 2012 It has long been known that diabetes can lead to vision problems. Basically, high glucose levels in the blood damage the eye's blood vessels, leading to sight-stealing diabetic retinopathy.
In fact, nearly 90 percent of people who have had type 1 diabetes for at least 20 years develop diabetic retinopathy, according to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
But some type 1 diabetics seem to avoid serious eye problems. Why is that?
In a study of 158 people who have had type 1 diabetes for 50 years or more, a high proportion had little to no diabetic eye disease over time, and researchers theorize that biological or genetic protective factors may be the reason. They believe that pinning down these factors may help other diabetics avoid such eye diseases or have milder forms of them.
Joslin Diabetes Center conducted the research, which was supported by JDRF. The study results were presented at the 72nd American Diabetes Association's (ADA) Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia this month.
Diabetic Vision Formula: Antioxidant Boost for People With Diabetes
March 2012 A new eye vitamin for people with diabetes contains carotenoid antioxidants designed to counteract the oxidative stress that can affect the eye's blood vessels.
This is thought to cause vision problems associated with diabetic retinopathy.
Manufacturer EyeScience says Diabetic Vision Formula is designed to complement an existing vitamin regimen, but adds that it is best to check with your physician and eye doctor to make sure all your supplements and medications are compatible with each other.
Is Diabetic Retinopathy Declining...or Increasing?
January 2012 According to data recently published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of people with diabetes who have vision problems from the disease has declined significantly in the past 14 years.*
But the news might not be as good as it sounds.
Though the CDC found that the age-adjusted percentage of adults in the U.S. with diagnosed diabetes who reported visual impairment declined from 23.7 percent in 1997 to 16.7 percent in 2010, the number of adults with vision problems from diabetes actually increased during this time frame.
The data showed that 3.9 million Americans reported having diabetes-related vision problems in 2010, up from 2.7 million in 1997 an increase of 44 percent. The reason for this increase is the significant increase in new cases of diabetes in the United States over the past decade.
According to the United Health Foundation, diabetes affected 8.7 percent of the U.S. population in 2011 a 42.6 percent increase since 2001.**
The declining trend in self-reported vision impairment from diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic eye disease may be due to the large number of persons who have not had diabetes long enough to develop vision problems. With time, the encouraging trend in self-reported vision impairment prevalence from diabetes might reverse, the researchers warned.
The researchers also said that too many people with diabetes-related vision problems aren't getting the vision care they need. The study found that only about 63 percent of the study respondents with diabetes and vision impairment visited an eye doctor for the annual dilated eye exam that is recommended for people with diabetes.
According to the CDC, nearly 26 million people in the United States had diabetes in 2010, and 79 million adults were at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. However, people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower their risk for complications, and those at high risk for diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes with weight loss and physical activity, the researchers said.
Diabetic Kids at Risk for Vision Loss Are Not
Getting Regular Eye Exams
November 2011 Although they are at risk for diabetes-related vision loss, children and youths with diabetes are not getting enough eye exams, according to guidelines of the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
A recent study included 1,514 young people who answered a questionnaire regarding the diabetes care they had received. The ADA has recommended guidelines for eye exams, blood pressure, kidney care and blood levels of various substances such as glycohemoglobin, and five of these indicators were used to evaluate the surveys.
Here are the findings:
- 95 percent had blood pressure checks at all or most visits.
- 88 percent had lipid levels checked.
- 83 percent had kidney function tested.
- 68 percent had their glycohemoglobin checked.
- 66 percent had eye exams according to ADA recommendations.
The youths who were older, especially those over 18 with type 2 diabetes, tended to have fewer tests of all kinds performed. Also, youths in lower-income households were less likely to meet the ADA guidelines.
A report of this study appeared online in the journal Pediatrics in August.
Scientists Regenerate Damaged Retinas Using
Stem Cells From Skin
May 2011 Exciting new treatments for retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa may result from a just-reported study involving conversion of skin stem cells from mice into pluripotent stem cells and then into retinal neurons.
Thirty-three days after the skin cells were harvested, the cells were ready to be placed into mouse eyes that had retinal disease.
After four to six weeks the cells had begun to reside in the retina and assemble into retinal tissue that looked healthy and showed an increase in electrical activity about half of what occurs in a normal retina.
Pluripotent skin cells are very similar to embryonic cells, but since they come from skin and not embryos, they aren't subject to the same ethical and other issues.
"We are very excited about these results," said Dr. Budd Tucker, the study report's first author, in a release.
"While other researchers have been successful in converting skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and subsequently into retinal neurons, we believe that this is the first time that this degree of retinal reconstruction and restoration of visual function has been detected."
The researchers, from Schepens Eye Research Institute, plan to test the procedure in larger animals and eventually in humans.
The study report appeared in the online science journal PLoS ONE in May.
Back to current diabetic retinopathy news.
**United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings finds preventable chronic disease on the rise; obesity, diabetes undermining country's overall health. United Health Foundation press release. December 2011.
[Page updated January 2014]