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Visual acuity in Type 2 Diabetics worsened by drinking alcohol

Type 2 diabetic patients may be at an increased risk of declining visual acuity if they partake in moderate to heavy alcohol consumption. In addition, researchers determined that the association with deterioration of visual acuity was greater for beer or spirits than with wine. The study was published in the December 2010 issue of Diabetic Medicine. Researchers analyzed data from 1,239 patients aged 55-81 years with Type 2 diabetes enrolled in the AdRem study. The researchers measured outcomes using retinal photographs from baseline and final visits with data on deterioration of visual acuity. Moderate and heavy alcohol drinkers were those participants who consumed more than 14 drinks per week. Following up after 5.5 years, researchers discovered the association between alcohol consumption and deterioration of visual acuity. The results showed that moderate and heavy drinkers had 1.8 and 2.0 times the increased risk of a decline in visual acuity. An additional 2% increase in risk of deterioration occurred with each additional drink consumed per week. One positive noted was that the presence or progression of diabetic retinopathy was not related to moderate alcohol consumption. While it was unclear as to why alcohol consumption was related to declined visual acuity in Type 2 diabetes, it was hypothesized that the lifestyle associated with heavy drinking could have an increase in vision loss. Another theory is that alcohol has neurotoxic properties and could cause oxidative damage to the retina and optic nerve.*

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