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Minerva Oftalmologica 2019 June;61(2):19-22

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4903.19.01834-8


language: Italian

Diet in the prevention of diabetic macular edema

Maria ALTOMARE COCCO 1 , Patrizia ROBERTO 1, Igino CIRULLI 2

1 Department of Ophthalmology, Hospital of Foggia, Foggia, Italy; 2 Department of Surgery, Hospital of Foggia, Foggia, Italy

By maculopathy is meant any disease that affects the macula the area that is located in the center of the retina, which serves the distinct central vision. At the center of the macula there is the fovea: it is a retinal depression where the foveola is found, the thinnest area in which only the cones are present. The latter are photoreceptors or cells capable of transforming light signals into electrochemical impulses also responsible for color perception (unlike rods, abundant in the retinal periphery, which are exploited only to perceive forms and movement in conditions of scarce brightness). Treatment depends on the type of maculopathy; however, it is essential to avoid or limit risk factors. Among the modifiable ones there are certainly cigarette smoke harmful to health also for other reasons and a diet poor in antioxidant substances (vitamin C, E, lutein, zinc, zeaxanthin). Furthermore, it is advisable to take food with low load glycemic and food sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega3) such as fish; but it is also important to follow a diet low in animal fats and rich in green leafy vegetables, fresh fruit and nuts. Moreover, recent studies have confirmed the importance of regular physical activity. At the same time we must defend ourselves from ultraviolet rays, especially in summer, at sea and on snow. Diabetic macular edema shows symptoms such as: blurred vision, image deformation, loss of contrast, altered color perception. The disease can be prevented by monitoring blood glucose levels with periodic examinations. Identifying diabetes early allows us to take the necessary precautions to safeguard not only one’s eyesight, but also the functionality of other organs, such as the cardiovascular system and the kidneys, which are also affected by circulation problems caused by this disease. Of fundamental importance is the diet that will have to optimize the glycemic fluctuations guaranteeing a regular physical activity and the improvement of the nutritional state also through a possible weight loss. Scientific evidence confirms that only a weight loss of 5-10% of the present weight would be enough to reduce glycemic fluctuations, insulin resistance and frequently the metabolic syndrome, present in these diabetic patients who are often overweight or frankly obese.

KEY WORDS: Insulin resistance; Dyslipidemias; Glycemic Index; Antioxidants; Zinc

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