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Eating disorders may increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy can be a danger for those suffering from eating disorders, as confirmed by an article published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

A study published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology shows that people with diabetes, anorexia, or bulimia are more likely to develop a serious condition to their visual health: diabetic retinopathy.

The main cause of diabetic retinopathy is poorly controlled diabetes that, over time, leads to alterations in small blood vessels, to the extent of causing outpouchings (called microaneurysms) and the oozing of the liquid part of the blood near the macular region – the center of the retina – which, in turn, can cause diabetic maculopathy (macular edema).

Researchers examined 1,100 people with diabetes and reported the following result: those with one or more eating disorders had triple the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy compared to diabetic patients with no additional illnesses.

The findings highlight the importance of regular eye examinations, which are especially necessary when the following symptoms occur:

  • Eye floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Reduced visual acuity
  • Difficulty seeing well at night
  • Noticing that colours appear dull or faded

It is important for ophthalmologists to ask about eating habits, especially in younger patients with diabetes, says ophthalmologist and Academy member G. Atma Vemulakonda, MD. That’s in addition to monitoring lifestyle factors such as smoking, and health problems such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

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