Eye care is important to all diabetics. However, there are many fronts from which the diabetic battle must take place. The eyes have been referred to as the “window to the soul”. This is why health care professionals work diligently to manage the care of personal vision.
What some diabetics may not know is that when diagnosed early vision can be something you can keep in good health and long-term, but there can be devastating news for those who delay checkups and resist medical intervention.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) outlines several of the main issues with vision, but they also indicate, “Most people who have diabetes have nothing more than minor eye disorders. You can keep minor problems minor. And if you do develop a major problem, there are treatments that often work well if you begin them right away.”
Let’s take a look at some of the primary issues diabetics face when it comes to vision.
It is estimated that diabetics are 60% more likely to develop cataracts than their non-diabetic counterparts. Cataracts tend to cloud vision and reduce light from reaching the retina. Reducing glare and wearing sunglasses are positive proactive measures if caught early enough.
For patients who have had diabetes for ten years or more the potential for developing issues with diabetic Retinopathy is increased. This issue relates to blood flow within the eyes.
Blurred vision in diabetic patients could mean that blood has leaked into the eye as a result of retinopathy. In many cases laser surgery or triamcinolone injections can fix the problem, but the best first course is to deal with eye problems by visiting with an eye care specialist regularly. It is believed that up to 90% of new retinopathy diagnoses could have been avoided if the patient would have engaged in informed eye care prior to the diagnosis.
The initial stages of retinopathy find no change in vision for the patient. However, when vision change happens much of the potential damage has already been done.
The blood vessels in the eye are especially susceptible to alterations in blood sugar. The vision issues experienced by diabetics may be many years in the making and might lead to other vision issues such as macular edema. Interestingly it is the regulation of blood pressure (hypertension) that may be the best course of action in managing diabetic retinopathy.
Risks for glaucoma increase with age, but they can increase by as much as 40% among those with diabetes.
According to Answers.com Glaucoma is, “A group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve usually due to excessively high intraocular pressure (IOP). This increased pressure within the eye, if untreated can lead to optic nerve damage resulting in progressive, permanent vision loss, starting with unnoticeable blind spots at the edges of the field of vision, progressing to tunnel vision, and then to blindness.”
The ADA elaborates by saying, “The pressure pinches the blood vessels that carry blood to the retina and optic nerve. Vision is gradually lost because the retina and nerve are damaged.”
Again the key element for diabetics is the blood pressure that affects the progression of glaucoma.
In virtually every diagnosis patients need to work at blood glucose control, hypertension and making regular appointments with your eye care professional to manage any developing eye care issues that may be intensified by diabetes.