A new study by the VA Maryland Health Care System in the US, which examined more than 10,000 high-risk diabetic adults across the US, has found that intensive blood sugar control in conjunction with a combination of cholesterol lowering drugs such as statins and fibrates, reduces the progression of retinopathy .
The research was testing three complementary treatment strategies to see if they brought down the high rate of heart disease and stroke associated with type 2 diabetes and if these treatments could slow down the progression of eye disease associated with diabetes .
This major study, the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD), which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that the three treatment strategies didn’t result in a significant decrease in the combined rates of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death compared with standard treatment. However, it did reveal that that standard control of a diabetic’s sugar levels did lower the progression of eye disease by about one-third, from 10.4 per cent to 7.3 per cent over four years, but with the intensive control of sugar, the progression was lowered to 6.5 per cent.
Rex Ballinger, local investigator for the study, said “This is the first study indicating that combination lipid therapy reduces eye disease progression…We are excited that such a study has shown benefits to reducing the risk of diabetic eye disease in our veteran population.”
It was recommended by the study that all people suffering from diabetes have an eye examination that involves a careful evaluation of the retina.