Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Diabetic Retinopathy

By: Miriam E Tucker
ORLANDO, Florida — Diabetic retinopathy may be yet another ill effect associated with vitamin D deficiency, a new meta-analysis and systematic review suggests.
The findings were presented May 27, 2016 here at theAmerican Association of Clinical Endocrinologists 2016 Annual Meeting by Anawin Sanguankeo, MD, a second-year resident in the department of internal medicine, Bassett Medical Center, Cooperstown, New York.
“Patients with diabetes and low vitamin D levels may develop earlier or more severe diabetic retinopathy,” Dr Sanguankeo told Medscape Medical News in an interview.
The mechanism could be twofold, he said. Studies suggest that vitamin D might improve insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes and may also directly reduce vascular endothelial growth factors. (Thus, deficiency would have the opposite effects.)
Animal studies have demonstrated vitamin D receptors in the retina, and when given vitamin D, vascularization was reduced in animal models.
“But in humans, there are very few studies that assess how vitamin D supplementation affects diabetic retinopathy,” Dr Sanguankeo commented.
And such research would be needed before vitamin D supplementation could be recommended as an intervention to prevent diabetic retinopathy, he explained during a press briefing, adding that he plans to start such a study soon.
Asked to comment, W Reid Litchfield, MD, an endocrinologist in private practice in Henderson, Nevada, and an AACE board member, called the study “hypothesis-generating” but cautioned that the location of the individual trials would have a major effect on the outcome, given that people living in more northern climates naturally have lower vitamin D levels.
Indeed, a UK cross-sectional study that was too recent to be included in this review found no association between vitamin D deficiency and diabetic retinopathy or maculopathy……
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Source: Medscape