Preventative Eye Care for Diabetics

Many diabetic patients are beset by eye problems that can eventually lead to poor vision or blindness.

Almost half of all diabetics have some form of eye damage. The most common conditions are diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes affects all of the small blood vessels in your body, and the damage to the blood vessels in the retina can cause blood to leak into the eyes. The symptoms are generally blurriness, hazy images, spotty vision, and partial or full blindness. Diabetic retinopathy cannot be cured, but it can be treated to reduce damage and improve vision.

Cataracts

Cataracts often occur in the elderly, but persons with diabetes are much more likely to develop cataracts than those who don't have the condition. Their cataracts begin at a younger age and worsen faster than the average patient. The development of cataracts often occurs because of high levels of blood glucose.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is another eye condition that occurs much more often in diabetics. This condition occurs when fluid pressure increases in the retina, slowly causing damage and vision loss.

Protecting Your Eyes

Persons with diabetes or at risk for diabetes should have regular eye examinations – at least once a year – to check for the onset of these conditions. These three conditions occur because of high glucose levels, so it’s important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels in the body.

High blood pressure can also increase the risk of eye damage. Smoking, a huge risk factor on its own, becomes extremely dangerous when combined with diabetes. Good health behaviors and early detection are key to maintaining healthy eyes.

Source: Everyday Health

Photo credit: Helga Birna Jónasdóttir on Flickr

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