Diagnosed With Diabetes? Seeing Your Eye Doctor Is Essential
Dr. Carina Lee, January 15, 2022
A frequent eye exam must be a part of your healthcare regimen if you have been given a diabetes diagnosis.
In the United States, an estimated 32.4 million persons (10.5% of the population) have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020: Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in The United States.
Unfortunately, many diabetics also experience diseases that endanger their ability to see.
This is why it's even more crucial to get routine eye checkups with your eye doctor if you've been given a diabetes diagnosis. Why is diabetes so harmful to your eyes, what causes it, and how can your eye doctor help?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to create enough insulin or to use it as it should to control the quantity of sugar (or glucose) in your cells.
Your eyes and vision can be negatively impacted by diabetes, which can also have other harmful impacts on your health.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the two varieties.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D)
Diabetes type 1 is seen as an autoimmune reaction that impairs the body's ability to manufacture insulin. 5% to 10% of those with diabetes have type 1 of this more uncommon variety.
T1D often affects kids, teens, and young adults, and its symptoms appear rather quickly. Insulin must be taken daily by those with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes cannot currently be prevented in any way.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D)
90% to 85% of people with diabetes have type 2, which is far more frequent than type 1.
The body struggles to correctly digest insulin in this kind of diabetes, which makes it difficult to control blood glucose levels. This kind of diabetes progresses gradually and is typically detected in adults. Healthy nutrition, exercise, and weight maintenance are all part of prevention.
Nearly all patients with type 1 diabetes and more than 60% of those with type 2 developed the sight-threatening condition known as diabetic retinopathy within the first 20 years of receiving their diabetes diagnosis, according to a January 2004 article in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.
Although diabetic retinopathy is the main reason why people with diabetes lose their vision, diabetes is also associated with a number of other disorders that can impair eyesight.
The following eye problems have been connected to diabetes:
The bulging of the focusing lens of the eye as a result of high blood sugar is a consequence of diabetes. As a result, there is a transient blurring of the eyesight that can be rather uncomfortable.
Don't immediately buy new glasses if you feel your vision is fuzzy; it can just be a temporary problem brought on by high blood sugar.
Your focusing lens may have swelled as a result of the elevated sugar levels, impairing your vision temporarily. Your lens resumes its regular shape and your vision becomes clear once your blood sugar levels are back within the typical range. However, the vision will continue to be hazy if the blood glucose level is high.
This problem develops after prolonged high blood sugar levels weaken and start to leak the walls of the tiny blood capillaries in the eye. As a result, some areas of the eye start to struggle to get enough blood. The eye starts forming new blood vessels leading to those areas as a way of making up for this.
Sadly, the newly formed blood vessels are also frail and soon start to leak. This can eventually result in eye scarring, retinal detachment, and even permanent blindness.
A person with diabetic retinopathy frequently shows no symptoms until their vision has already suffered irreparable harm.
Maculopathy, also referred to as macular degeneration, can be brought on by diabetes. The macula, a region of the retina that is dense with photoreceptors and is crucial for center and fine-detail vision, is affected by this disorder. A full or partial loss of central vision, typically in both eyes, characterizes maculopathy.
Routine tasks like reading, driving, and recognizing the faces of loved ones might become challenging or impossible due to diabetic maculopathy.
Fortunately, the likelihood that visual loss can be avoided increases with early discovery of this illness. Your doctor might suggest certain eye procedures and therapeutic drugs.
Glaucoma is a disorder that develops as a result of an increase in eye pressure brought on by the additional blood vessels that diabetic retinopathy creates over time.
A series of eye conditions known as glaucoma are defined by optic nerve damage brought on by increased inner eye pressure.
Glaucoma can go unnoticed until there has already been a considerable loss of vision, like Tunnel Vision.
Glaucoma can result in complete blindness if left untreated.
Glaucoma screenings will be a regular part of diabetic eye checkups so that it can be identified as early as feasible. It is more likely that your eye doctor can save your vision the sooner the diagnosis.
Glaucoma cannot be cured, although it may typically be treated with specialized eye drops and medications. It is uncommon for your eye doctor to advise specific surgeries to manage your glaucoma.
Cataracts According to the National Eye Institute, more than 50% of all Americans will develop cataracts by the time they are 80 years old. Cataracts are a normal and prevalent component of aging.
When protein begins to accumulate in the eye, cataracts develop. As it hardens, the eye becomes foggy. As a result, there is glare and vision blur. If a cataract is left untreated, it may eventually cause total vision loss in the affected eye.
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Although everyone should get an annual eye checkup, people with diabetes should take particular care to get to their eye doctor for a routine exam. For healthy eyes and excellent vision if you have diabetes, make an appointment with an eye doctor.
Diabetes frequently results in complications that endanger vision in its victims.
Regular eye checkups with your eye doctor are crucial if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.