Diabetes and the Eyes

Diabetes is a disease that affects many parts of the body, including the eyes. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in American adults. Those who are diabetic need to see an ophthalmologist if experiencing any changes in vision. Three major eye conditions that diabetics face are:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic Retinopathy

Cataracts are a condition where the lens in the eye becomes damaged and cloudy. When normal blood sugar levels are not maintained, the lens of the eye actually swells causing blurry or cloudy vision. If this condition is not controlled, the lens will have to be surgically replaced to regain eyesight.

Glaucoma is a condition where the eye’s internal drainage system is not functioning properly leading to an increase in pressure in the eye that can cause loss of vision. Many people don’t actually have symptoms with this condition until they have reached the advanced stages of the disease. Therefore, it is necessary to have regular screenings with an ophthalmologist.

The final condition is a very serious condition called diabetic retinopathy. This condition is brought on by damage to the retinal blood vessels from unregulated blood sugar. There are two different types of retinopathy found in diabetics:

  • Non-proliferative retinopathy: This is when there is some damage to the blood vessels from high blood sugar levels. Some patients with this form of retinopathy may not have symptoms.
  • Proliferative retinopathy: The condition where new blood vessels form on the retina. This indicates that there is a lack of oxygen to the eye and abnormal new blood vessels form to compensate. Unfortunately, these new blood vessels are not helpful and development of them can cause severe vision loss.

It is very important to see an ophthalmologist if you have diabetes. These three conditions can lead to serious complications and vision loss. The good news is that these conditions can be prevented or controlled with medication and surgery. Early detection gives the best chance of maintaining vision.

La Peer Health Systems has a fantastic team of ophthalmologists with experience treating conditions related to diabetes. Please contact us at 855-360-9119 to set up an appointment.