People with diabetes are prone to develop damage to their retinas, but tight control of blood pressure slows the progression of this complication and helps prevent vision loss, UK researchers report.
Dr. David R. Matthews, from the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, and colleagues studied 1148 patients with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure who were assigned randomly to either a tight or a less-tight blood pressure control strategy. The blood pressure goal for the tight-control group was set at a reading of 150 over 85; for the others, the goal was 180 over 105. The participants were followed for an average of was 9.3 years. Compared with less-tight blood pressure control, tight control was associated with a significant reduction in all types of retinal damage. Tight control slowed retinal disease progression, and patients were less likely to need photocoagulation to repair retinal damage than those in the less-tight control group, the team reports in the Archives of Ophthalmology. Tight control also reduced the risk of blindness in one eye by about 25 percent. In an editorial, Dr. Ronald Klein, from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, comments: “Ophthalmologists should tell their diabetic patients about the benefits of blood pressure control in reducing loss of vision … and emphasize the need for routine monitoring of blood pressure.” (SOURCE: Archives of Ophthalmology: Reuters Health: November 2004.)