Better Health 2015 > Eye Health > Health Briefs issue 32

Effective Blood Sugar Control Can Save Diabetes Patients From Eye Surgery


Effective blood sugar control can save diabetes patients from eye surgery



One of diabetes’ most serious and debilitating complications is eye damage, such as cataracts, central serous chorioretinopathy, or diabetic retinopathy. These conditions tend to strike type 1 diabetes sufferers who may have to prepare for the worst: losing their eyesight.


However, a study published in New England Journal of Medicine states that strict control of blood sugar could reduce the need to undergo eye surgery by almost 50 percent.


The study follows a cohort of 1,441 diabetes type 1 patients. Patients were divided into two groups with 711 treated with a thorough blood sugar control program, while the other 730 patients received standard care. After 23 years of collecting data, findings showed 63 patients from the blood sugar treatment group needed eye surgery, compared to 93 from the standard care group. The risk for cataract surgery in the first group decreased 48 percent and the risk for vitrectomy and retinal detachment surgery decreased 45 percent.

Cornea donation free of worry 


Eye disease treatments often entail transplanting corneas from a deceased donor. At that critical moment, many patients reasonably worry about the quality of the newly donated cornea, especially when the cornea comes from a diabetic patient.


However, a presentation at the most recent Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting suggests that the risk of diabetic cornea transplantation may not be as high as generally supposed.


Researchers compared endothelial cell density, aproxy for predicting whether a cornea is healthy or not, in 1,486 diabetic corneas and 2,488 non-diabetic corneas. The findings showed no significant difference.


In addition to this study about diabetic cornea transplants, there is also research that indicates age has no effect on corneal quality. Following treatment results for 10 years, researchers found that the cornea of a 71-year-old donor was still useable and no different than one from a 35-year-old donor.

Look to fish and vegetables for better eyesight 



Some nutrients can help keep your eyes healthy, and prevent eye disease. A pediatric ophthalmologist at Loyola University, USA, suggests filling your plate with fruits and vegetables of vibrant colors especially green, blue, and red.


He also lists nutrients that work wonders in keeping your eyes healthy:                

  • Astaxanthin protects eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration, and blindness. Find it in seaweed and wild salmon.
  • Omega-3 protects against neovascular disease. It’s in oily fish, such as tuna, sardines, and salmon.      
  • Anthocyanins protect your eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration, inflammatory eye disease and diabetic retinopathy. Consume it in blueberries, bilberries, and black currants.   
  • Bioflavonoids protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. Good sources are tea, red wine, citrus fruits, and cherries.             
  • Beta-carotene protects your eyes from night blindness and dry eye condition. Find it in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and butternut squash.       
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin protect against age-related macular degeneration. Get it in dark green vegetables, marigold flower supplements, and egg yolk.

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