September 18, 2013

The Chronology of Visual Impairment


Looking through the glasses at eye chartDiabetes and blindness are two words often paired. A new study published in JAMA Ophthalmology delves further into this issue, identifying the trend of visual impairment over two different 3-year periods.

Despite the vigilant efforts over the past decade to control blood glucose, diabetic retinopathy has  increased. Why is this happening and who does it affect most?

This was an observation study where data was gathered from reports taken between 1999-2002 and 2005-2008, The main focus of the data gathering was  nonrefractive visual impairment. This is visual acuity without glasses. People who measured less than 20/40 were classified as having nonrefractive visual impairment.

Without giving you all the details of the results, the conclusion speaks volumes. Literally, it says that the prevalence of nonrefractive visual impairment was significantly higher in 2005-2008 than in 1999-2002 and may be attributable, in part, to higher prevalence of diabetes, an associated risk factor that increased in prevalence during this time period.

It’s no secret that diabetes eats away at the integrity of the tissues in the body. Diabetic retinopathy is an attempt for the body to replace the tissues being destroyed but the ability to make healthy, new tissues is impaired by the absence of essential vitamins, nutrients, and oxygen.

T2D makes the body unable to properly use insulin and vital nutrients. This has been the same since the beginning of time. Obviously the diagnosis rate is increasing but why is there is a discrepancy in this ability of eyes to regenerate healthy cells in 2005-2008 and not so much in 1999-2002??

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