SEVENTY percent of diabetics will develop some changes in their eyes within 15 years of diagnosis ⁽¹⁾. This type of complication in the eyes is known as diabetic retinopathy. The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in Malaysia has been reported to range from 44.1% to 48.6%; while other studies show 12.3% for Type 1 diabetes mellitus and 22.3% for Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Most published Malaysian data are primarily hospital-based.
What is diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition where there is leakage of blood vessels in the retina, the light sensitive tissue which converts an image into a message. If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, it will progress to visual impairment. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of blindness.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy
At an early stage, diabetic retinopathy does not show any symptoms. Thus, it is very important for every diabetic to get a regular comprehensive dilated eye examination at least once a year to detect any signs of damage. Figure 2 illustrates the symptoms which might arise at the later stage.
Antioxidant for the eyes
A powerful antioxidant such as French Maritime Pine Bark Extract can help to promote healthy eyes. According to studies which was clinically tested, this extract can strengthen the retina’s blood capillaries ⁽³⁾ and improve the blood glucose level management ⁽²⁾ suitable for adults, particularly individuals with long history of diabetes and uncontrolled blood glucose level.
Strengthen retina blood capillaries ⁽³⁾
Study shows that the retinal capillary leakage is reduced by 23.5% in the left eye and 16.0% in the right eye after taking 150mg French Maritime Pine Bark Extract for two months. It helps to bind to collagen fibres, providing sealing effect to strengthen the retinal capillaries and reduce the leakage.
Improve blood glucose level management ⁽⁴⁾
The HbA1C level is reduced by 10%, after taking 125mg French Maritime Pine Bark Extract for three months. The reduction is mediated through the inhibition of α-glucosidase, the enzyme which is responsible to break down starch into glucose in the intestines thus, reducing the uptake of glucose in the intestines and HbA1C level.
How to maintain a healthy eyesight
Always keep your health on TRACK to maintain healthy eyes.
• T - Take your medications as prescribed by the doctor
• R - Reach and maintain a healthy body weight
• A - Add more physical activity to your daily routine
• C - Control blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels
• K - Kick the smoking habit
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⁽¹⁾. Eye changes in people with diabetes: Eyesight Problems. Sparks & Feros Optometrists. (2021, March 12). https://sparksferos.com.au/eye-health/common-eyesight-problems/diabetic-changes/
⁽²⁾. Zibadi S, Rohdewald P, Park D, Watson RR. 2008. Reduction of cardiovascular risk factors in subjects with Type 2 Diabetes by Pycnogenol® supplementation. Nutrition Research, 28: 315-320.
⁽³⁾. T.G. Hoe 1983, Prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in the University Hospital diabetic population, Med J Malays, 38 (1)
⁽⁴⁾. Spadea L and Balestrazzi E. 2001. Treament of vascular retinopathies with pycnogenol. Phytotherapy Research, 15(3): 219-223