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Posted on December 1, 2016 by Harleena Singh, Staff Writer in Cover Stories
Diabetes Affects the Eyes -
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide. In the United States, it is the most common cause of blindness in people younger than 65 years of age. High blood pressure can lead to many eye problems such as cataracts, blurry vision, glaucoma and retinopathy. Regular visits to an eye doctor are required if you have diabetes.
If you have blurry vision, don’t buy a new pair of glasses immediately. It could just be a temporary eye problem that develops with diabetes. It is caused by high blood sugar levels, which make the lens of the eye swell, thus changing the ability to see. To correct this problem, you need to get your blood sugar back to the target range. This may take a few weeks to a few months. Blurred vision could also be a symptom of more serious eye problem in people with diabetes. Here are the three main eye problems people with diabetes should be aware of:
Many people without diabetes develop cataracts, but people with diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop this condition. They also get cataracts at a younger age and the cataracts progress faster. With a cataract, the eye’s clear lens clouds and blocks light. You may need to wear sunglasses more often and use glare-
In people with diabetes, retinopathy can get worse after the removal of the lens, and glaucoma may develop. People who have diabetes are 40 percent more likely to develop glaucoma than those without diabetes. Glaucoma occurs when pressure builds up in the eye, causing drainage of the aqueous humor to slow down so that it builds up in the anterior chamber. The pressure pinches the vessels carrying blood to the retina and optic nerve. Vision is gradually lost because the nerve and retina are damaged. Glaucoma risk also increases with age.
Diabetic retinopathy is the term used for all disorders of the retina caused by diabetes. There are two types of diabetic retinopathy. Background retinopathy is the most common form. It is caused by various problems with existing blood vessels within the eye. The problems involve bleeding and the leakage of fats and fluids into the tissue of the eye. If these problems occur in the macula, they result in reduced vision. Normally, this form of glaucoma has no effect on vision and needs no treatment, but sometimes it can lead to a more serious form. Proliferative retinopathy starts out as background retinopathy. It is caused by the growth of very fine, delicate blood vessels that tend to bleed very easily. The bleeding itself can cause vision problems, and so can the scar tissue that may form at the point where the bleeding occurs. Nearly everyone with Type 1 diabetes will eventually have background retinopathy, and most people with Type 2 diabetes will also develop it. However, the retinopathy that can destroy vision (proliferative retinopathy) is far less common.
Diabetic eye damage is sometimes called a silent disease because the damage can be occurring a long time before you notice any change in your sight. By then, the damage is often very bad. Don’t wait until you notice your vision changing before you have your eyes properly checked. It’s very important to get a comprehensive eye exam when you first find out you have diabetes. Be sure to have regular eye exams every two years after that. If you already have any diabetes eye damage, discuss treatment options with an eye-
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Written by Harleena Singh
Harleena Singh is a professional freelance writer with a background in teaching and education. She has a keen interest in food and health related issues and can be approached through her website freelancewriter.co. Checkout her blog and network with her on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.