Diabetes
Eye Exam

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Eye-Ya-Yay! Diabetic Eye Complications

Posted on December 14, 2015 | Author and Reviewed by: Dan Lois B. Villanueva. RPh

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Of the five senses, it is sight we tend to rely on the most. Through these twin orbs, we see the world in dimensions, colors and shapes. Unfortunately, diabetes is not confined merely to the endocrine system; it can also affect different parts of your body from your eyes to the heart and yes, even your eyes. Of course, taking medicine for diabetes can help but to learn more about the possible complications diabetes can cause, here they are.

Blurred Vision

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Most people would associate the blurriness of their vision with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or aging but if you are a diabetic, you must consider your illness to be the possible cause of your eye problem.

When your blood sugar is high, it causes swelling in the lens of your eyes. As a result, your vision becomes blurry.In order to correct your blurred vision, you have to lower your blood sugar to normal range. In some cases, blurred vision is not only caused by high blood sugar level. Sometimes, it’s a symptom of more severe eye problems caused by diabetes. If you notice your vision blurring, don’t just work to get your blood sugar level down to your normal, contact your doctor as well.

Cataracts

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Your eyes have lenses which are supposed to remain transparent to give your a clear vision. Unfortunately, these lenses can fog or cloud up, giving you impaired vision. This is called a cataract and it mostly occurs to people advanced in age, but diabetics have an increased risk of developing these foggy lenses.
At an increased risk of 60%, diabetics need to be aware of the symptoms such as increased sensitivity to light, seeing “halos” around light sources such as lamps, double vision, blurred vision and color fading.

If you suspect you may have developed a cataract in your eye, consult a doctor. If the patient can still move about without any vision problem, the ophthalmologist is most likely to recommend regular follow ups and monitoring, especially since the condition progresses faster in diabetic patients. They may also be required to wear anti-glare sunglasses. For patients with severe cases, the most effective treatment is cataract surgery, also called phaecoemulsification. During the procedure, the affected lens is removed and replaced by an artificial lens.

Retinopathy

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Retinopathy is a general term used for  a disorder of the retina caused by diabetes. There are two major types: nonproliferative and proliferative. The former is a more common form of retinopathy, wherein the capillaries in the back of the eye balloons, forming a pouch while the latter occurs when new blood vessels start growing in the retina.

There are different treatments available for people with retinopathy, but these treatments are more likely to be successful when this eye condition is diagnosed early on.

Glaucoma

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Excess pressure in the eyes is a condition called glaucoma. This pressure is usually a result of the fluid in our eyes not draining properly. Diabetics are 40% more likely to get this eye condition compared to people without diabetes.

Glaucoma occurs when the nerves and blood vessels in your eyes are damaged by the excess pressure. Symptoms include blurry vision, light sensitivity, pain, nausea and headaches; however, not all cases may exhibit these symptoms as it all depends on the type the patient has.
There are three main types of Glaucoma: open-angle, angle-closure and congenital. With open-angle, the vision loss is gradual, with the patient not noticing the signs until irreparable damage has occurred. On the other hand, angle-closure is the sudden buildup of fluid, which may be quite painful with the increase of pressure. When this occurs, one must the visit the doctor immediately. Congenital glaucoma occurs in children who are born with the defect in their eye.

There are different treatments available for glaucoma. Eye drops, laser procedure, or surgery are available to reduce the pressure in your eyes.

Having diabetes might lead to different eye problems. To be safe, consult your doctor as soon as you experience one of the symptoms stated above. If you can, consult your doctor about regular checkups to detect and prevent future eye complications.