The risk for heart attack, stroke, and even death go up as the severity of diabetic retinopathy increases, Bobeck S. Modjtahedi, MD, ophthalmologist with Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG), told Medscape Medical News.
Dr. Modjtahedi presented the results of a study on the relationship between diabetic retinopathy and overall health at the American Society of Retina Specialists’ 2020 virtual meeting in late July.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects eyes; it’s caused by damage to blood vessels of the retina — the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Dr. Modjtahedi is a member of SCPMG’s Clinician Investigator Program, where he is creating models to predict a patient’s risk of vision-threatening forms of diabetic retinopathy.
In their analysis, Dr. Modjtahedi and colleagues reviewed data from more than 68,000 Kaiser Permanente patients with type 2 diabetes who underwent an evaluation of their retinas. The researchers identified a significant increase in strokes, heart attacks, and death from other causes among these with more severe diabetic retinopathy, in the 5 years after the patients were evaluated.
“The patients with worse retinopathy had worse outcomes,” Dr. Modjtahedi told Medscape Medical News.
The findings highlight the importance of coordinated care between ophthalmologists and other physicians, Dr. Modjtahedi said. It also provides “a good opportunity for ophthalmologists to use what they find as an educational and motivational tool.”
Note: To read the full article, visit Medscape Medical News.