Diabetic patients with diabetic retinopathy who undergo weight loss surgery should still be carefully monitored for diabetic eye disease even if their blood glucose is normal after the bariatric surgery. What does weight loss surgery have to do with diabetic retinopathy?
Researchers reporting at the American Diabetes Association meeting on a small pilot study found weight-loss surgery might accelerate progression of diabetic retinopathy in some cases. In the study 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 impact 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 has diabetes and diabetic retinopathy and weight loss surgery, you need to have regular eye exams even if your blood sugar is normal after the surgery. Please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.
The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550.