Close control of blood pressure helps reduce eye problems in people who have type 2 diabetes, according to a British study.

The Study

The study included 1,148 people, with an average age of 56 years, who had high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes for an average of 2.6 years at the beginning of the study. The average blood pressure was 160/94.

The patients were divided into two groups. One group had the blood pressure target of 150/85, while the other group had a target that was easier to achieve-less than 180/105.


After 4.5 years, 23.3% of those people in the tight blood pressure control group had experienced five or more micro aneurysms (tiny dilated areas in the walls of the blood vessels in the eyes), compared with 33.5% of people in the other group.

People in the less strict blood pressure control group also had an elevated risk of blindness compared with people in the tight blood pressure control group.

"High [blood pressure] is detrimental to each aspect of diabetic retinopathy and a tight [blood pressure] control policy reduces the risk of clinical complications from diabetic eye disease," the study authors say.


Dr. Ronald Klein of the University of Wisconsin-Madison says, "These findings clearly demonstrate the importance of lowering blood pressure" in type 2 diabetics. "Ophthalmologists should tell their diabetic patients about the benefits of blood pressure control in reducing loss of vision from diabetic retinopathy and emphasize the need for routine monitoring of blood pressure [including measurements at each eye examination]," Klein concludes.

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