Diabetic Retinopathy Occurs in Pre-Diabetes
New research finds that people who have pre-diabetes may suffer from diabetic retinopathy; therefore, they should get their eyes examined regularly.
Thornton: A new study shows that you may not need a diagnosis of diabetes to suffer from diabetic retinopathy — a condition where changes to small vessels in the back of the eyes can lead to loss of vision. Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood-glucose levels are higher than normal — but not high enough to lead to an actual diagnosis of diabetes. Doctor Emily Chew — Deputy Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the National Eye Institute — said the study shows people who have been told they are pre-diabetic should make sure to get their eyes examined regularly.
Chew: I think it emphasizes the importance of having an eye exam at diagnosis for all patients with Type Two diabetes. It's clear that patients in [a] so-called pre-diabetic state may be having some changes that are diabetic retinopathy-like — and, perhaps, they are true diabetic retinopathy. And these studies need to be continued to see whether patients are at higher risk. This may predict, perhaps, further problems down the road. So it's very important for them to have a regular eye exam.
Thornton: Diabetes affects 18.2-million Americans — and can lead not only to blindness, but to heart disease, kidney disease, and amputations. For more information, check out "Small Steps, Big Rewards" at www.ndep.nih.gov. This is Matt Thornton, at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Matt Thornton
Sound Bite: Dr. Emily Chew
Topic: Diabetes, Blindness