Keep an eye out for diabetes-related vision problems

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

When you have diabetes, seeing an eye doctor at least once a year for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is an essential task for good health.

Diabetes raises the risk for several eye diseases that can steal your sight. Most of them start stealthily with few, if any, symptoms. An eye doctor can spot the diseases early when they are often easier to treat.

It's important to understand the eye diseases commonly associated with diabetes, which include these four:

Diabetic retinopathy. The retina is the inner lining at the back of each eye. High blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels around the retina, causing the blood vessels to form pouches that affect vision. Fluid can leak from the blood vessels and trigger abnormal new blood vessels in the retina. This latter stage of the disease can lead to serious vision problems.

Diabetic macular edema. The macula is part of the retina. Diabetes can cause swelling in the macula, which can progress to partial or complete vision loss.

Glaucoma. This group of diseases happen when fluid in the eye can't drain properly. As the fluid builds, it can damage the optic nerve, a group of nerves that connect the eye to the brain.

Cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the lenses in the eye, which diminishes vision. People without diabetes often get cataracts, which become more common with age. But if you have diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing cataracts at an earlier age.

Anyone with diabetes can get one of these eye diseases, but your risk is higher if your blood glucose, cholesterol levels or blood pressure aren't under control. Smoking also makes you more vulnerable. Managing these risks and seeing your eye doctor on a regular basis can, however, help protect your eyes.

Housed at Watson Clinic Main, our team of optometrists and ophthalmologists can detect and treat potential vision issues resulting from diabetes before they become severe. Call 863-680-7486 for more information and to schedule an appointment.


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