Diabetic Eye Disease Associated With Five-Fold Risk Of Severe Coronavirus: Study

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Diabetic eye disease has a five-fold increased risk of requiring intubation when a patient is hospitalised with coronavirus. This was revealed in a study published in the journal ‘Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice’ on Tuesday
The latest study recommends better clinical examination of patients suffering from coronavirus-related complications. It has for the first time identified risk associated with diabetic disease of the retina and the novel coronavirus, India Today reported.
What is diabetic eye disease?
It is a common complication of diabetes and is caused when there’s damage to the small blood vessels in the eye, explained researchers, including those from King’s College London.
The study

Scientists probed 187 people who had diabetes and who were hospitalised due to coronavirus between March and April 2020.

They found that 67 patients had diabetic retinopathy (disease of the retina). A majority of them had a background of a damaged eye.

Of the 187 patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19, the scientists said 26 per cent were intubated, and 45 per cent had retinopathy.

What the study found

According to the study, retinopathy was associated with a five-fold increased risk for intubation with no association observed between this condition and mortality.

“This is the first time that retinopathy has been linked to severe coronavirus in people with diabetes. Retinopathy is a marker of damage to the blood vessels, and our results suggest that such pre-existing damage to blood vessels may result in a more severe virus infection requiring intensive care treatment. We hypothesise that the presence of diabetes-related vascular disease such as retinopathy may result in greater vulnerability and susceptibility to respiratory failure in severe Covid-19,” news agency PTI quoted study co-author Antonella Corcillo from King’s College London as saying.

“Further studies are required to investigate the possible mechanisms that explain the links between markers and manifestations of diabetic vascular disease such as retinopathy and severe Covid-19,” Corcillo added.

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