HomeDiabetesType 2 Diabetes - Does Diabetes Affect the Visual Part of Your Brain Before Causing Eye Damage?

Type 2 Diabetes - Does Diabetes Affect the Visual Part of Your Brain Before Causing Eye Damage?

Having Type 2 diabetes is known to raise the risk of developing vision loss. Among older people with Type 2 diabetes, between 10 and 20 percent have problems with their eyes, which weaken with age in all people. Approximately 90 percent of diabetics will have some blood vessel changes in their eyes after having diabetes for more than twenty-five years.

The loss of vision is caused by retinopathy, a condition in which the back of the eye is damaged. The back of the brain or occiput often shows damage as well. The occipital lobes process information brought from the eye to the brain via the optic nerve. It might be assumed damage to the retina could lead to shrinkage of the occipital lobes (use it or lose it), but now it appears the occiput can sustain diabetic damage even before retinopathy takes place.

In August of 2017, Graefe’s Archive of Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology reported on a study completed in the University of Coimbra in Coimbra, Portugal. Researchers compared the brain of…

  • 24 Type 2 diabetics without retinopathy and
  • 27 individuals without Type 2 diabetes.

The diabetic participants without retinopathy showed atrophy of the occipital lobe compared with that of nondiabetic individuals. From these results, it was concluded Type 2 diabetes could damage the seeing part of the brain before diabetic retinopathy is detected.

The occipital lobes are part of the cerebral cortex, where the brain performs its highest functions. Most visual processing takes place in an area known as Brodmann area 17, or V1 for Visual 1. From the visual cortex, information goes to the parietal lobes where it is put together with other sensory information to form an idea of the environment (cognition). The parietal lobes develop at age 5, helping children to integrate space, touch, and volume, and to gain a clear sense of perspective.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common cause of blindness diagnosed in adults of working age. With more cases of diabetes diagnosed each year, the prevalence of blindness is increasing. Worldwide diabetes is the fifth most common cause of blindness. That is mostly from diabetic retinopathy. Could diminishment of the occipital cortex be another cause of diabetic loss of vision? Could both problems be acting in concert? More research can find the answers.

However diabetic blindness is caused, the important thing is keeping blood sugar levels normal. That means keeping on top of…

  • diet,
  • exercise, and
  • medication when prescribed.

Type 2 diabetes is not painful when first diagnosed, but it can cause much suffering. See your doctor regularly and follow his or her recommendations. If you have acute pain in your eyes, see an eye doctor immediately.

Source by Beverleigh H Piepers

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