Diabetic Eye Care

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Poorly regulated and high levels of sugar in the blood due to diabetes can cause changes in the optics of the eye, resulting in blurred vision and trouble focusing. Diabetes can also cause cataracts, a clouding of the lens inside the eye that blurs vision. By affecting the nerves that control the alignment and movement of the eyes, diabetes can cause double vision and cause the optic nerve to be more easily damaged by glaucoma.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most important cause of visual impairment in people with diabetes. Changes occur in the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. When these blood cells weaken and leak fluid of small amounts of blood, vision is distorted slightly. The key is whether the disease progresses past this beginning stage – although 25 percent of people with diabetes have some degree of retinopathy, the condition does not progress to more severe problems in most.

The longer a person has had diabetes, the chances of having some form of diabetic retinopathy increases. Retinopathy is present in 90 percent of those who have had the disease for more than 20 years. Research has shown that laser treatment can prevent or delay severe visual loss from diabetic retinopathy, but only if it diagnosed early enough. Annual eye exams are a must for diabetics.

A diabetic can significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy by using common sense and making healthy choices:

  • Monitor blood pressure & blood sugar levels and keep it under good control
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • See an eye doctor for a dilated eye exam at least once a year

If vision becomes blurred, it becomes difficult to do close work such as reading, or if vision becomes spotty or hazy, a diabetic should see his or her eye doctor right away.

 

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