Intensive HbA1c Control Cuts Diabetic Retinopathy Progression

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Intensive HbA1c Control Cuts Diabetic Retinopathy Progression
Intensive HbA1c Control Cuts Diabetic Retinopathy Progression

MONDAY, June 13, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive blood glucose control appears to reduce the risk of retinopathy progression in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study presented at the American Diabetes Association's 76th Scientific Sessions, held from June 10 to 14 in New Orleans.

Researchers compared type 2 diabetes patients who received either intensive therapy or standard therapy for glycemic control. Participants on intensive therapy had average glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels of 6.4 percent when the study ended. The standard therapy group had HbA1c levels that averaged 7.7 percent.

The researchers checked the study volunteers' eye health four years after treatment ended. At that point, HbA1c levels were almost the same -- 7.8 for the intensive group and 7.9 for the standard group. The researchers found that the risk of retinopathy progression for patients in the intensive therapy group was 5.8 percent. In the standard therapy group, that rate was 12.7 percent.

"This study sends a powerful message to people with type 2 diabetes who worry about losing vision," lead author Emily Chew, M.D., deputy director of the division of epidemiology and clinical applications at the U.S. National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Md., said in an institute news release. "Well-controlled glycemia has a positive, measurable, and lasting effect on eye health."

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