If you've recently been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor has likely told you how it impacts your overall health. What you may not know is that it can be a cause of various eye diseases. Along with your regular checkups, you should see your eye doctor periodically for a diabetic eye exam. Eye disease is rarely curable, but if caught early, it can be slowed down to prevent vision loss. Here is what you need to know about how diabetes affects your eyes.
This eye disease occurs when the pressure in your eye increases to dangerous levels. Your eye produces a gel-like fluid, called vitreous humor, that helps to maintain the shape of the eye. Tiny ducts in the eye allow this gel to escape as new gel enters the eye, which maintains the pressure in the eye.
Diabetes affects the ducts and the production of the gel so that too much accumulates in the eye. This increases the pressure in the eye until the blood supply is disrupted and the retina becomes damaged. As the pressure increases, your vision becomes blurry and you'll see halos around bright lights. If the pressure becomes severe, you'll experience some vision loss as the retina is damaged.
A diabetic eye exam includes testing the pressure in the eye. If detected early, your doctor can recommend eye drops to reduce the pressure and your risk of vision problems. If the pressure is severe, surgery can be done to open up channels in the eye for the fluid to drain out.
Your eye normally produces proteins to protect it from ultraviolet rays. An abnormal build up of protein results in cataracts, to which diabetes contributes. The cataract prevents light from entering your eye. You'll require more light to read as the disease progresses. Eventually, your sight becomes too blurry to be corrected and you're faced with surgical removal of the cataract.
This is one eye disease that can't be stopped, but the vision loss can be reversed. The cataract is removed during an outpatient procedure in your eye doctor's office and an artificial lens is put in its place. The artificial lens is not vulnerable to future cataracts.
This eye disease is specific to diabetes and can result in partial or permanent blindness. Blood vessels in the back of your eye swell and allow fluid to leak out into the retina. As the fluid accumulates, light is blocked from reaching the retina and you'll start seeing shadows and dark areas in your vision. In advanced stages, new, weak blood vessels form in the eye which develop scar tissue. The scar tissue pulls on the retina and, if pulled away from the back of the eye, blindness occurs.
These weak blood vessels will show up in a diabetic eye exam. When detected, your doctor can recommend medication or laser surgery to remove the fluid from the back of the eye or destroy the newly formed weak vessels. Early detection and treatment will help prevent the loss of vision due to damage to the retina.Share
1 March 2016
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