Diabetes drugs show promise without harming vision

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People with type 2 diabetes who are using drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy to manage their condition and help with weight loss received reassuring news regarding their eye health.

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in both Ozempic and Wegovy, can cause a quick drop in blood sugar levels.

Earlier studies suggested that such rapid changes might worsen diabetic retinopathy—a diabetes complication that affects the eyes and can lead to vision problems.

Given these concerns, doctors wanted to know if semaglutide could lead to new cases of diabetic retinopathy or worsen the condition in those who already have it.

Dr. Zeeshan Haq and his team from Retina Consultants of Minnesota analyzed the health outcomes of over 48,000 adults with type 2 diabetes, all treated with injectable semaglutide.

They discovered that only a small percentage—2.2%—developed new retinopathy or experienced worsening symptoms within two years of starting the medication.

Even more encouraging, among patients with an advanced form of the eye disease at the study’s outset, 60% saw an improvement after treatment with semaglutide.

Consulting Healthcare Providers

While these findings offer a positive outlook, Dr. Haq recommends that patients with diabetes talk to their doctors about whether semaglutide is right for them, considering their individual health circumstances.

Ongoing Research for Conclusive Evidence

The study is a retrospective analysis, meaning it looks back at existing data. A more rigorous prospective clinical trial, which actively follows patients over time, is underway and expected to conclude in 2027.

This will provide more definitive information on semaglutide’s effects on vision for those taking standard diabetes medications.

Current Medical Consensus

These results were shared at the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s recent meeting and should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

However, the data so far suggest that semaglutide-based diabetes treatments are unlikely to damage vision and might even offer benefits for eye health in those with diabetic retinopathy.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that MIND diet may reduce risk of vision loss disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with diabetic neuropathic pain.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that Vitamin E could help reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance in diabetes, and results showing eating eggs in a healthy diet may reduce risks of diabetes, high blood pressure.

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