METFORMIN MAY DECREASE YOUR RISK FOR MACULAR DEGENERATION By Dr. Lisa Bennett, Ophthalmologist at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
No one likes being told that they are now a diabetic and need to take medications. You usually try losing weight first but even then you sometimes just have to face the facts: you need a medication like metformin to bring your blood sugars down. There was a recent study that may make you more enthusiastic about taking the pills: it appears that the use of metformin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in those over 65 years-old!
The study appeared in the medical journal Investigative Ophthalmology in April. The medical records of almost 8000 patients over the age of 55 year-old in Florida with newly diagnosed dry macular degeneration were analyzed. They all had at least 3 complete eye examinations without evidence of macular degeneration before starting the metformin. They were compared against a control group with 4 consecutive examinations without evidence of macular degeneration. Those taking metformin were 32% less likely to be diagnosed with macular degeneration.
Of course this does not mean that those who do not need metformin for diabetes should start taking it. It also does not establish cause and effect as the data is what we call “retrospective” or looking back. It is very interesting, however, and gives those reluctant diabetics out there cause for a little joy.
Macular degeneration is an aging change affecting the back of the eye known as the retina. It has both a mild “dry” and more aggressive “wet” form. Besides taking metformin if you doctor recommends it, other protective measures include eating plenty of leafy green vegetables, wearing sunglasses outside and not smoking.
Dr. Lisa Bennett is an ophthalmologist specializing in medical and surgical eye care. She practices with Drs. James Ivanoski and Martha Jay at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin. For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.