Monitor Diabetic Retinopathy after Weight Loss Surgery

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monitor Diabetic Retinopathy after Weight Loss Surgery

What does weight loss surgery have to do with diabetic retinopathy? As it turns out if you have diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, even if you have successful weight loss surgery and normal blood glucose-you still need regular eye exams to monitor the progression or stability of diabetic retinopathy.

Researchers reporting at the  American Diabetes Association found weight-loss surgery might accelerate progression of diabetic retinopathy in some cases. In the study, 7 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 effect 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 is having weight loss surgery and is diabetic and has diabetic retinopathy, please call Doctor & Associates-203-227-4113, visit Doctor & Associates in Fairfield County or to schedule an appointment for regular eye exams to monitor any progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Doctor & Associates is a leading Fairfield County Connecticut eye care practice with offices at 129 Kings Highway North, Westport, Connecticut 06880, 195 Danbury Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897 and 148 East Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut 06851.