Eyesight is one of our five senses and our eyes are the windows to the world.
Diabetes is a very common illness and some people might not know this, but having diabetes increases the risk of having eye problems. There are three major eye problems people should be aware of when they have diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma and retinopathy.
A cataract is a cloud over the lens of the eye, which results in the inability to focus light, and your vision is impaired. Anyone can get a cataract but people with diabetes can experience this eye problem at an earlier age. Surgery is required to remove a cataract, whereby your lens is taken out of the eye and replaced with a plastic lens. This surgery will make you see clearly again.
Glaucoma is when pressure starts building up in the eye. This pressure damages your eye’s optic nerve which is the main nerve of your eye. This causes you to lose sight from the sides of your eyes. Treatment of Glaucoma involves your eye care professional prescribing special eye drops to use every day which will lower the pressure in your eyes. In more severe cases laser surgery is suggested.
Retinopathy is a blood-vessel related complication related to diabetes. The retina’s in your eyes have tiny blood vessels and having high blood glucose can damage these vessels. First, these tiny blood vessels get swollen and weaken. The blood vessels then become clogged and do not let blood through, which can lead to temporary lost of eyesight. Diagnosis of Retinopathy involves laser treatment or eye surgery called vitrectomy, this surgery involves removing blood and fluid from the eye.
When you suffer from diabetes make sure to regularly visit your eye doctor to avoid eyes problems. Follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, check your blood glucose everyday, and take your medicines as directed to mange your diabetes.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness.
Early detection, through regular and complete eye exams, is the key to protecting your vision from damage caused by glaucoma. A complete eye exam includes five common tests to detect glaucoma.
It is important to have your eyes examined regularly. Your eyes should be tested:
- Before age 40, every two to four years
- From age 40 to 54, every one to three years
- From age 55 to 64, every one to two years
- After age 65, every six to twelfth months
Anyone with high risk factors should be tested every year or two after age 35.
Are you at risk for Glaucoma?
Everyone is at risk for glaucoma. However, certain groups are at higher risk than others.
The following are groups at higher risk for developing glaucoma:
People over 60 – Glaucoma is much more common among older people.
Family members with Glaucoma – The most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, are hereditary. If members of your immediate family have glaucoma, you are at a much higher risk than the rest of the population.
Eye Injury – Injury to the eye my cause secondary open-anlge glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can occur immediately after the injury of years later. The most common cause is sports-related injuries such as baseball or boxing.
Four key facts about Glaucoma:
- Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness
- There is no cure (yet) for glaucoma
- Everyone is at risk for glaucoma
- There may be no symptoms to warn you
The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get tested. If you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.