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Blood-glucose levels indicator of retinopathy risk

CHICAGO — Individuals who have higher blood-glucose levels and poorer control of those levels over time appear more likely to develop eye-related complications 10 years later, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Ophthalmology published Monday.

The high blood-glucose levels accompanying diabetes are known to be associated with microvascular complications, including the eye condition retinopathy, according to background information in the article. “However, some controversy concerns the actual value of this glycemic threshold for identifying retinopathy,” wrote Pascale Massin of Hôpital Lariboisière in Paris and lead researcher. “It is now well established that the nondiabetic population also has retinopathy, albeit at a lower frequency than patients with diabetes and in a milder form, indicating that there may be factors other than fasting plasma glucose levels that increase the risk of retinopathy.”

The study examined the retinas of 700 men and women (average age 52) who were enrolled to participate. Out of that group, 44 were diagnosed with retinopathy. Compared with those without retinopathy, those with the condition had higher average levels of fasting plasma glucose 10 years prior (130 mg vs. 106 mg per deciliter) and higher HbA1C (6.4% vs. 5.7%).

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