- A chronic metabolic disease characterised by insufficient insulin secretion (type 1 diabetes) or by a decrease in the effects of insulin on tissues (type 2 diabetes).
- Insulin is the hormone which regulates the concentration of sugar in the blood. Hyperglycaemia, or high concentrations of sugar in the blood, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time can lead to damage to many organ systems.
- Complications: Diabetes can lead to damage to the heart, blood vessels, the eyes, kidneys and nerves:
- Increased risk of cardiac disease and of stroke: 50% of diabetic patients die from cardiovascular disease,
- Diabetic retinopathy,
- Renal impairment.(1)
- A degenerative disease of blood vessels of the retina.
- Occurs in persons with diabetes.
- Caused by excess concentrations of sugar in the blood, characteristic of diabetes, which damages the small blood vessels which supply the retina with nutrients and oxygen.(2)
- A very wide-spread disease: about 350 million persons world-wide are affected (1).
- Affects about 4% of the population in France, i.e. more than 2.5 million persons (3).
- A major case of decreased visual acuity in 2002: 4.8% of cases of blindness (4).
- In France, 35 to 40% of diabetic patients have retinopathy, i.e. about 800,000 persons (5).
- It is one of the most common complications of diabetes (4):
- 100% of the population of patients with type I diabetes will be affected by diabetic retinopathy after 10 years’ progression of diabetes
- 33% of the population of patients with type II diabetes will be affected by diabetic retinopathy after 20 years’ progression of their diabetes
- A disabling complication:
- 33% of diabetic patients with blindness-related complications will become permanently blind.
- Importance of regular checks
- 10% of diabetic patients have problems of vision.
- Detection and early treatment of damage to the retina would make it possible to prevent over 95% of cases of decreased visual acuity in diabetic patients (6).
- Factors which promote the occurrence of diabetic retinopathy and accelerate its progression:
- Duration of diabetes
- Poor control of glycaemia
- Arterial hypertension
- Enhanced risk of progression of diabetic retinopathy in pregnancy in pregnant women (2) (4).
- Regular ophthalmology consultations and at a frequency advised by a practitioner:
- Generally, at least once a year according to recommendations of the French National Authority for Health (HAS). (3)
- In case of observation of the least visual anomaly.
- Measurement of glycaemia:
- Rules of hygiene and diet: Regular physical activity, weight loss in case of overweight, balanced diet
- In possible combination and under medical advice with medical treatment.
- Determination of glycaemia curve, if specified by the doctor. (1)