Many Americans suffer from diabetes, undergoing necessary treatments to make sure that they can control their symptoms and lead normal lives. It is a very debilitating disease that can end up affecting many aspects of a person’s life and health. Individuals who suffer from diabetes are at a significantly increased risk for stroke, heart disease, and kidney damage. However, what many people are not aware of is the fact that diabetes can also have serious adverse effects on your eyes. It is for this reason that all individuals who suffer from diabetes are strongly encouraged to undergo regular eye exams in order to make sure that the disease does not affect their vision. People with diabetes are much more likely to develop a variety of different ocular maladies and problems, so it is crucial to always stay on top of your medication and preventative routines.
Studies show that people who suffer from diabetes can be as much as forty percent more likely to develop glaucoma than those without the disease. The longer that the person has had diabetes, the more likely it is that glaucoma will develop. As you age, the risk increases as well, so proper treatment procedures are crucial in preventing the development of this disease. Glaucoma will typically occur when enough pressure builds up in the eye. Usually, this pressure can pinch blood vessels that carry blood to the optic nerve and retina, resulting in damage to those parts. The individual’s vision will then gradually begin to fade as the damage continues to build. Despite how problematic this condition can be come, there are several treatment options available for glaucoma. Users will be able to take drugs to help reduce the pressure in the eye in mild cases, while more severe ones may require surgery to help alleviate the problem.
People who develop diabetes are also more likely to develop cataracts. In fact, studies show that there is a link between this ailment and diabetes, and those who suffer from diabetes are up to sixty percent more likely to develop cataracts. Additionally, because of complications with diabetes, individuals are more likely to develop cataracts at a much younger age, while they progress faster and become a bigger problem sooner. Cataracts are debilitating clouds that develop on the eye’s clear lens, blocking light and the ability to see. Milder cataracts can be easier to deal with. All that you may need to do is wear prescription glasses, provided to you by a doctor. In more severe cases, however, the cataracts will need to be surgically removed. In a simple procedure, the doctor will usually remove the eye’s lens. In such cases, patients will usually receive transplanted ones that can allow them to see again.
Individuals who suffer from diabetes will also be at risk for diabetic macular edema, which is abbreviated as DME. This disease is, in fact, the most frequent cause of vision problems in those who suffer from diabetes. Without early eye exams to catch this disease, many people who suffer from it will end up blind, and almost one in every three cases are undiagnosed. DME is the swelling of the macula, which is the part of the eye that is responsible for central vision. The chronic high blood sugar that results from diabetes can end up damaging blood vessels in the retina, resulting in fluid to leak and create macular swelling. Symptoms are difficult to see by themselves, which is why it is crucial for all those who suffer from diabetes to undergo yearly eye exams. Special eye drops are put in the eye during these exams, allowing doctors to see the macula more clearly and determine whether or not there are any early signs that they should be aware of.
Factors That Determine Your Risk
There are several different factors that will determine whether or not you are at risk for the aforementioned eye problems. Your blood sugar control, your specific blood pressure levels, your genes, and how long you have had the disease can all make a difference in your developing vision problems. However, while it is a frightening thing to think about, proper management will ensure that you control your risks. People who keep their levels of blood sugar as close to normal as possible will be less likely to suffer from debilitating eye conditions, or develop much milder and easier to treat ones. It is possible for your retina to sustain large amounts of damage before you notice a change in your vision, but by keeping up with your eye exams, you will be able to control eye problems even better.
If you need to schedule an eye exam, contact our offices at: (937) 435-2437