High blood-glucose levels linked to retinopathy

NEW YORK — Patients diagnosed with high blood-glucose levels that cannot control the condition over time likely will develop such eye-related complications as retinopathy 10 years later, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

A study led by Pascale Massin of Hôpital Lariboisière in Paris and colleagues found that after examining the retinas of 700 men and women — noting that 235 patients had diabetes, 227 patients had an impaired fasting plasma glucose level and 238 patients always had glucose levels within normal limits — 44 participants were classified as having retinopathy, including 19 patients with diabetes, 19 patients with impaired fasting glucose levels and six patients with normal glucose levels. What's more, those with the retinopathy had higher average levels of fasting plasma glucose 10 years prior (130 mg versus 106 mg per deciliter) and higher HbA1C levels (6.4% versus 5.7%).

"Levels of HbA1C and fasting plasma glucose at baseline were related to the presence of retinopathy 10 years later, and the levels at which the positive predictive values increased provide a rationale for the choice of thresholds for the definition of hyperglycemia associated with 10-year retinopathy," the authors wrote. "Factors other than glucose measures play only a minor role in retinopathy."

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