Thursday, November 13, 2014

Monitor Diabetic Retinopathy Carefully after Weight Loss Surgery

Diabetic patients having weight loss surgery and who have diabetic retinopathy need to have their eyes monitored carefully after surgery to determine any progression of their diabetic retinopathy-even if their blood sugar is normal! What does weight loss surgery have to do with diabeticretinopathy?

Researchers reporting at the American Diabetes Association on a small pilot study found weight-loss surgery might accelerate progression of diabetic retinopathy in some cases. In the study, seven of the 40 or 17.5% of the diabetes patients screened about a year before and again after bariatric surgery suffered a progression of their diabetic retinopathy as compared with the 2% to 4% of the overall diabetes patients who develop retinopathy each year. The opposite impact might have been expected. If you have a condition such as diabetic retinopathy that is the result of the diabetes and the diabetes is in remission, it makes intuitive sense that the progression of the condition would be arrested. Although a few patients did appear to have regression of their eye disease most remained unchanged after surgery in the study. 

The patients who did progress had higher pre-surgical glucose levels and the greatest reduction in glucose levels afterward. A rapid reduction in blood glucose after the weight loss surgery-which is called “normoglycemic re-entry” or a temporary anemic episode after the weight loss surgery may actually be responsible for in the progression of preexisting diabetic retinopathy, but the mechanism is really unclear and requires a great deal of further investigation.

One fact for sure-even if after weight loss surgery your blood glucose is normal, people with moderate background diabetic retinopathy prior to weight loss surgery should be monitored closely post-surgery for evidence of progression.

If you or someone you know has a question about diabetic retinopathy progression after weight loss surgery and the need for eye exams to monitor diabetic retinopathy progression, please feel free to call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser.

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 522 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354.