Diabetes In Pregnancy Linked To Eye Problems In Children | Health Info

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By Robert Preidt, Health Day reporter

(Health day)

WEDNESDAY, Aug 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Children whose mothers suffered from diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk for severe forms of common eye problems such as nearsightedness and myopia and astigmatism, suggests a long-term study term.

Collectively, they are known as refractive errors, conditions in which the eye is unable to properly focus images on the retina.

“So much [refractive errors] in young children are treatable, early identification and intervention can have a positive impact throughout life, ”the study authors wrote in the Aug. 17 issue of the journal. Diabetology.

Rates of refractive errors have increased in recent decades, suggesting that non-genetic factors may play a role, the researchers noted.

Using computers for long periods of time or other types of close work and a lack of outdoor activities have been identified as key non-genetic risk factors for the development of low and moderate refractive errors in people. school-age children. But the causes of severe (high) refractive errors are unclear, the Chinese and Danish researchers said.

Previous studies have shown that people with severe refractive errors can have congenital eye abnormalities before birth.

High blood sugar during pregnancy can cause fetal blood sugar levels to rise, which can damage the retina and optic nerve, and can lead to changes in the shape of the eyes that can cause refractive errors, the authors explained. study in a press release.

To find out more, the investigators analyzed data from about 2.4 million people born in Denmark between 1977 and 2016. Of these, more than 56,000 were exposed to maternal diabetes during pregnancy: 0 , 9% with type 1 diabetes; 0.3% type 2; and 1.1% gestational diabetes.

In 1977, 0.4% of mothers had diabetes during pregnancy, up from 6.5% in 2016. Mothers with diabetes tended to be older and to have had more previous pregnancies.

A total of 533 children of mothers with diabetes were diagnosed with high refractive errors during 25 years of follow-up, as were 19,695 children of those without the disease.

Children whose mothers suffered from diabetes during pregnancy have a 39% higher risk than other children, according to the study.

Compared with unexposed offspring, the risk was much higher in those whose dams had type 1 (32%) or type 2 (68%) diabetes.

The researchers also found that children of mothers with complications from diabetes had twice the risk of high refractive errors, compared with an 18% increased risk for children whose mothers did not have complications. linked to diabetes.

Hyperopia occurred more often in childhood and nearsightedness was more common in adolescents and young adults, according to the report.

Researchers suspect that the difference may be due to a natural process in which the shape of the eye changes during infancy. They said the change could correct most of the clairvoyance in early childhood over time.

The team added that the increasing number of years and the intensity of schooling could increase the risk of myopia from infancy to young adulthood.

“Although the increased risk of 39% is a relatively small effect size, from a public health perspective, given the high global prevalence of [refractive errors], any small improvement in this low-risk preventable factor will contribute to a huge reduction in the absolute number of these eye conditions, ”the study authors explained.

The study was led by Jiangbo Du of the State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine at Nanjing Medical University in China, and Jiong Li of Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark.

THE SOURCE: Diabetology, press release, August 17, 2021

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