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Controlling blood sugar may prevent eye problems in diabetes patients

Lowering lipids and cholesterol can also pay dividends, study finds

1:38pm, June 29, 2010

Keeping blood sugar close to normal and taking drugs to hold down blood levels of cholesterol and other fats can help people with diabetes avoid the potentially blinding eye disease retinopathy, researchers report.

Until now, it hadn’t been clear whether strict control of blood sugar and fats, or lipids, could still deter retinopathy in patients who had been diabetic for as long as a decade.

“The question was whether the horse was out of the barn for this group,” says study coauthor Emily Chew, an ophthalmologist at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Md. It turns out, she says, “that you can reduce the risk of retinopathy in these patients.”

Years of high blood sugar can damage blood vessels in the retina, leading to diabetic retinopathy. This results in the buildup of fluid and other deposits in the eye, which can lead to blindness if not treated.

The new study, published online June 29 in the New En

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