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Diabetes and the Eye

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to control blood sugar. Too much blood sugar in the body can affect many parts of the body, such as the eyes, heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) claims that 90% of vision loss from diabetes can be prevented. Therefore, it is critical that if you or a loved one has diabetes, that they come for an annual eye exam.

How does diabetes affect your sight? Uncontrolled blood sugar can make shifts in your glasses prescription, cause cataracts, cause diabetic retinopathy with or without macula edema, and possibly cause glaucoma. The endpoint is blindness if not monitored or controlled. If there are signs of diabetes in the eye, the severity of damage will determine whether you will be monitored more closely or referred to a retinal specialist.

You can expect the doctor will recommend dilation of the eyes with drops to get better views of the retina.

There is more to the eye than just glasses and contact lenses.

You may not know it, but when you see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, we are not only measuring the prescription of your eyes, but we are also checking the health of your eyes. Many times, the health of the eyes tells us about your health too. There are a variety of eye diseases that are both silent but could cause harm to your vision over time. The following is just an overview of diseases that can be unnoticed.

  • Glaucoma- Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that does not have any symptoms most of the time. A person with glaucoma will lose vision mostly peripherally. As eye care professionals, we take a look at risk factors, such as your eye pressures, family history, medical history, and the appearance of your optic nerves and retinal fiber layers to assess if you are at risk for glaucoma. Without a proper complete eye exam, you won’t be able to detect glaucoma. Additional testing is needed to determine the loss of vision, and treatments can include eye drops and possibly other surgical procedures to lower the pressure of the eyes.
  • Diabetes- If you have diabetes, it is recommended that you have a complete eye examination with dilation once a year to ensure you do not have diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness with greater risk when blood sugar is uncontrolled. Eat healthy, stay fit, and come see us for an annual eye examination.
  • Hypertension- High blood pressure can also be seen in the eyes. Many times, patients will come in for a routine check, only to find out their vessels have signs of hypertension that needs to be monitored by their PCP. If hypertension stays uncontrolled for awhile, there is risk of stroke and sometimes vision problems can also be seen.
  • Retinal holes, tears, or detachments- Having two eyes gives us depth perception but also two chances to see. If one eye is unable to see due to disease or a congenital anomaly, the brain may shut off the unclear vision and favor your mind to see through the good seeing eye. Because we have two eyes, eye diseases can also go unnoticed. A dilated eye exam or a retinal wide-view image map can help us detect these anomalies that may be unmatched by your own naked eye.

Come see us at Eyecare Boulevard. Dr. My Dinh is devoted to take care of your eyes, whether you have disease or if you need an annual check-up to make sure your eyes are healthy. We will check your glasses and/or contact lens prescription, too, to ensure you have obtain the healthiest and best vision possible.