New Studies of Diabetic Retinopathy

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The basics of diabetic retinopathy are known by most eye care practitioners. Caused by complications of diabetes mellitus, this eye disease is quite sight threatening. Approximately 80% of patients who have had diabetes for over ten years will become victims of diabetic retinopathy. Once this scaring ocular impairment occurs, vision loss is to a large degree inevitable. Another basic point of this disease is that there are no early warning signs. But a mature case of retinopathy usually involves serious damage to the vision system and sometimes other health problems are caused, like high blood pressure and poor glucose control. In spite of these widely-known points, researchers are still making effort to know more about this disease, in terms of detection method, consequence, treatment etc.

High levels of arginase in the blood indicates vessel damage

A study published in the American Journal of Pathology in August 2009 reported a new discovery about how to detect diabetic retinopathy. Early blood vessel damage in the eyes could be indicated by high levels of arginase in the blood. This method is conventionally used to diagnose cardiovascular diseases and inflammation in the kidney and other organs. As liver enzyme, high blood levels of arginase have long been known to reduce nitric oxide availability, which can minimize injury caused by inflammation. A low level of nitric oxide increases such risk.

Medications could slow down diabetic eye injury

Studies published in New England Journal of Medicare in July 2009 revealed that certain medications could be used to slow down eye injury caused by diabetes. Participants who had taken antihypertensive medications showed a significant slowing of the progression of diabetic eye injury. These medications that were used include enalapril and losaran. Yet the appropriate age and period of these medications still require further researches.

Diabetic retinopathy may cause obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

In addition to high blood pressure and poor glucose control, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can also be strongly related to diabetic retinopathy. This information comes from the result of a study involving retina images that was presented at the American Thoracic Society’s international conference. Researchers of the study also suggested continuous positive airway pressure as an OSA treatment. Symptoms of OSA include snoring, breathing lapses during sleep and sleepiness during daytime.

A new device for eye disease detection and treatment suggestion

A newly invented device for screening eye diseases is anticipated to spread worldwide and benefit people particularly in remote and rural areas. The device can photograph and transmit images of the patient’s retina to a central database, which stores and maintains thousands of images that describe different states of known retinal diseases. The detection or diagnosis of eye diseases can be achieved by simply making a comparison between the images photographed by this powerful device and the stored images in the database. The computer which maintains images in the database can determine whether the patient is healthy or suggest simple treatments once early signs of an eye disease such as diabetic retinopathy are detected.