Rigorous Blood Sugar Control Cuts Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy in Half in Landmark ACCORD Study; Intensive Control Has “Positive, Measurable, and Lasting Effect on Eye Health”

People with type 2 diabetes who intensively controlled their blood sugar level during the landmark Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Trial Eye Study were found to have cut their risk of diabetic retinopathy in half in a follow-up analysis conducted four years after stopping intensive therapy. Investigators who led the ACCORD Follow-on Eye Study (ACCORDION) announced the results on June 11, 2016 in New Orleans at the 2016 American Diabetes Association (ADA) annual meeting (June 10-14). The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health's National Eye Institute (NEI). "This study sends a powerful message to people with type 2 diabetes who worry about losing vision," said Emily Chew, M.D., Deputy Director of the NEI Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications and lead author of the study report, published online on June 11, 2016 in Diabetes Care. "Well-controlled glycemia, or blood sugar level, has a positive, measurable, and lasting effect on eye health." The Diabetes Care article is titled “Persistent Effects of Intensive Glycemic Control on Retinopathy in Type 2 Diabetes in the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Follow-On Study.” A complication of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy can damage tiny blood vessels in the retina -- the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. ACCORDION is a follow-up assessment of diabetic retinopathy progression in 1,310 people who participated in ACCORD, which tested three treatment strategies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among people with longstanding type 2 diabetes. ACCORD tested maintaining near-normal blood sugar levels (intensive glycemic control); improving blood lipid levels, such as lowering LDL "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides and raising HDL "good" cholesterol; and lowering blood pressure.
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