Diabetes-related vision loss most often is blamed on blood vessel damage in and around the retina, but new research indicates that much of that vision loss may result from nerve cell injury that occurs long before any blood vessels are damaged. After three months on a high-fat diet, the animals had developed obesity-related glucose intolerance, and by six months, they had nerve problems in the retina. There was no evidence of blood vessel damage in the eyes, however, until the animals were examined at 12 months. The most profound implication of the study is that injury to nerve tissue in the retina may occur much earlier than damage to blood vessels in the eye, Clay F. Semenkovich, MD, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor and chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research, explained.
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