Eye Health: The Connection Between Diabetes and Eye Disease

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 19-Apr-2011

diabetes-3-300x132Did you know that one of the leading causes of blindness in adults aged 20-74 is Diabetes? As a diabetic, paying close attention to your eyesight is crucial, and regular eye exams can help prevent or detect problems early before irreversible blindness occurs. When you have diabetes,eye healthshould be a top concern.

The threat of eye disease and changes in vision grow when your blood sugar becomes too high for your body to regulate. High blood sugar causes the lenses of the eye to swell, which can inhibit clear vision. The swelling of the eye lenses may take days, or even months to control your blood sugar enough for your sight to return to normal. Sometimes controlling blood sugar is all that it takes, while other times, the eye problems are more serious in nature. The eye diseases that can occur in someone with diabetes include cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy. Each of these diseases is serious in nature, but each can be prevented with regular eye examinations and good control of blood sugars.

Cataracts: Cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye that is normally clear. When you develop cataracts with diabetes, your eye cannot focus light, which results in vision being impaired. To treat this, surgery and lens implants are often necessary, while glasses or contact lenses may be used to correct vision even further.

Glaucoma: Glaucoma results when fluid in the eye does not drain properly, which causes a buildup of pressure in the eye. This excess pressure damages the nerves and vessels and leads to irreversible loss of vision. Glaucoma treatments include special eye drops, medicines, and even eye surgery.

Retinopathy: This is a vascular complication related to diabetes that results in damage to the blood vessels in the retina. The blood vessels in the back of the eye begin to leak, which can eventually lead to retinal blindness. Retinopathy can be treated with diabetic eye surgery.

Although diabetic eye problems are relatively common, there are things that you can do to help lower the risks and prevent problems from developing. It is important to have an annual eye exam to help detect any problems early on; if you are considering getting pregnant, it is a good idea to have an eye exam beforehand. It is also essential to control your blood sugar and your blood pressure because both of these can trigger vision problems related to diabetes.

Set up an appointment to have your eyes checked today and contact a trusted surgeon or ophthalmologist with any questions or concerns that you might have.

Categories: Diabetes, Eye Conditions
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