Diabetic Eye Care: What You Need to Know

If you’re diabetic and are concerned about your vision, there may be a link. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults[1].

The truth is, all people with diabetes are at risk for vision loss and blindness due to diabetic eye disease. Diabetes-related eye diseases can cause trouble reading, seeing faces across the room, seeing at night, or even blindness. The most common eye conditions that develop as a result of diabetes are: cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

Cataracts

While anyone can develop cataracts, those with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age[2].

What is a cataract? A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye. When a lens is clouded, it is no longer able to focus. Because of the systemic nature of diabetes, sufferers experience faster deterioration of the lens.

How is a cataract treated? Cataracts can be treated with surgery. During the surgical procedure with a skilled ophthalmologist, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with a clear lens.

Glaucoma

Those with diabetes are nearly twice as likely than people without diabetes to develop glaucoma[3].

What is glaucoma? Glaucoma is actually a group of progressive diseases in which the optic nerve becomes damaged due to increased pressure inside the eye. When the optic nerve is damaged, the transmission of signals from the eye to the brain are negatively impacted.

How is glaucoma treated? Since there are several forms of glaucoma, the most common being Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG), treatment depends on each unique patient. Available treatments for glaucoma include medication such as eye drops and minimally-invasive procedures such as selective laser trabeculoplasty.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness. It usually doesn’t not present early warning signs. The only way to detect and stay ahead of vision problems related to diabetes is to keep up with regular comprehensive eye exams. 

What is diabetic retinopathy? Diabetic retinopathy is characterized by the leaking of blood vessels in the retina. High levels of blood glucose can cause blood vessels to swell and leak fluid, sometimes even causing new blood vessels to grow on the surface of the retina.

How is diabetic retinopathy treated? This condition is typically treatment with medication and laser procedures. Early detection and treatment are vital to protecting yourself against blindness.

If you have diabetes, prevention of related eye diseases should be a priority. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam – this is the only way to detect and diagnose diabetic eye diseases. Call ReFocus Eye Health to schedule an examination or request an appointment online.


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/pdf/factsheet.pdf

[2] https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/complications/eye-complications

[3] https://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/diabetes-and-your-eyesight.php