Microalbuminuria—the persistent elevation of albumin in the urine—is an established predictor of poor renal outcomes and possibly cardiovascular issues in Type 2 diabetes patients. A team of researchers from Taiwan also suggests a lowered level of microalbuminuria may protect the eye. 

Their research, published in Acta Ophthalmologica, found remission of microalbuminuria may be an independent protective factor in the development of proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) and diabetic macular edema (DME).

Their eight-year prospective cohort study investigated the time-sequential correlations between progression/remission of diabetic kidney disease and the development of both ocular conditions in 576 Type 2 diabetes patients with microalbuminuria who were recruited from a single medical center in Taiwan.

After adjusting for baseline characteristics, the study reported the remission of microalbuminuria appeared to be a significant protecting factor for the development of PDR and DME. After further adjustment for follow-up hemoglobin A1c and systolic blood pressure, the study noted remission of microalbuminuria was still a significant protective factor for the development of PDR.

Aggressive treatment for diabetic kidney disease might help prevent the progression of DR, the researchers said.

Hsieh YT, Hsieh MC. Time-sequential correlations between diabetic kidney disease and diabetic retinopathy in type 2 diabetes—an eight-year prospective cohort study. Acta Ophthalmologica. June 22, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].