Watching the sunset, beholding the wonders of nature and of art are pleasures we would want to indulge in forever. However, diabetes, without timely care, can seriously affect this gift of vision. The risk of losing vision is high with diabetics, especially if your sugar levels are not under control. But the loss of vision is gradual and early detection is the only ways to safeguard your eyes. The common eye problems associated with diabetes including the following.
Sometimes, the interior of the eye can be subjected to a buildup of pressure. This results in a condition known as Glaucoma. The pressure pushes the blood vessels that carry blood to the retina and optic nerve leading to its damage. As a consequence vision is gradually lost. People with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as compared to non-diabetics.
The risk of glaucoma increases with age and the duration of time for which a person has diabetes. There are several treatments for glaucoma. Some of these involve the use of drugs to reduce pressure in the eye, while other treatments involve surgery.
If the normally clear lens in your eye becomes cloudy, blocking light, it is known as a cataract. People with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop cataracts .It leads to blurred vision. Sunglasses or glare control glasses can go a long way towards preventing mild cataracts. For cataracts that interfere greatly with vision, surgery often helps people see clearly again.
Diabetes can rupture the small blood vessels that supply blood to the retina, causing them to leak blood onto the retina. This condition is known as diabetic retinopathy. The simple truth is that the longer you have had diabetes, the more likely you are to develop retinopathy. If it is diagnosed early enough, retinopathy can often be slowed or stopped altogether.
High blood sugar, high blood pressure, duration of diabetes and heredity are important factors influencing the development of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetics who keep their sugar levels closer to normal are less likely to have retinopathy. Huge strides have been made in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and various treatment options are available. However, the success of these treatments is linked to early diagnosis. Once the damaged has occurred, the effects are usually permanent.
What steps can be taken to prevent eye problems?
All it takes is a little attention to a few details:
- Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Keep your blood pressure under control.
- Quit smoking
How often should you see an eye specialist?
You should see your eye specialist at least once a year. An annual dilated eye examination is a must if you are 10-29 year old and have had diabetes for at least 5 years. But if you are 30 or more, you will have to get your checkups regularly, even if you have a short diabetic history. More frequent checkups may be necessary if you already have a co-existing eye disease.
An eye checkup for diabetics is required if:
- Your vision becomes blurry
- Reading becomes troublesome
- You have double vision
- You see spots or floaters
- Your side vision is affected
Be sure to discuss your exercise program with your eye specialist. Some activities can raise the pressure inside your eye and lead to bleeding in the retina worsening eye diseases.