Metformin linked to protection against eye condition

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A link between metformin and protection against a condition that can cause blindness has been found.
A Taiwanese research team say they have found evidence to support that people who take the type 2 diabetes drug metformin could reduce their chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
AMD normally affects people in their 50s and 60s, and if left untreated can cause blindness.
It is thought inflammation and oxidative stress play a key role in the eye complaint developing, which is where metformin comes in.
The diabetes drug reduces those two health problems, which is why the research team wanted to see to what extent metformin could prevent AMD.
Metformin is normally given to people with type 2 diabetes who have been unable to control their condition with diet and exercise alone. The medication helps the body to control blood sugar by lowering the amount of glucose created by the liver and reducing the amount of sugar absorbed by the intestines.
The study involved gathering data from people who had been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between 2001- 2013 using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database.
They followed more than 45,000 people who took metformin for 13 years. During the same time period they also tracked 22,681 people who did not take the medication.
At the end of the trial the researchers found half as many people in the metformin group had AMD, when compared to the drug-free group.
Lead investigator Yu-Yen Chen said: “Our study is the first to reveal the protective effect of metformin on the development of AMD. While more study is required to determine just how metformin protects against the development of AMD, this is an exciting development for patients at risk.”
The findings have been unveiled at AAO 2018, the 122nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.