Although patients with diabetes are prone to retina problems, a new study found that tighter control of blood pressure slows down the progress of this complication and helps stop vision loss. The study included 1148 participants with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The participants were randomly assigned to either a tight or lesstight blood pressure control strategy.
The researchers established a 150/85-mm Hg goal for the tight-control group; for the other group, the goal was 180/105 mm Hg. The participants were followed for 9.3 years. The results of the study showed that tight control was connected with a major reduction in all types of retinal damage, compared with less-tight blood pressure control. Further analysis indicated that tight control slowed retinal disease progression, and the patients were less likely to need photocoagulation to repair the retinal damage, compared with the less-tight control group. Tight control also decreased the risk of blindness in 1 eye by 25%. (The findings were reported in the Archives of Ophthalmology, November 2004.)