A Guide to Diabetes and Eye Health

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Diabetes is a chronic disease of increased blood glucose. And those with diabetes are at greater risk of various ocular conditions, which can lead to lost vision and even blindness if left untreated. Diabetic eye diseases typically cause adverse effects by compromising the blood vessels and other tissues of the eyes in multiple ways.

One way is by blocking off the nutrient-rich circulation necessary to keep the various ocular cells robust and healthy. Alternatively, fluid from faulty vessels can leak into the adjacent spaces. In either case, this may cause swelling and increased intraocular pressure, which results in progressive vision loss.

But managing one's diabetes, and getting in touch with our expert ophthalmologists to explore other potential solutions, can help you avoid as much diabetic eye damage as possible. Just reach out to us at inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa to find out how we can help protect your vision and ocular well-being in Tuscaloosa, AL.

How does diabetes affect my eye health?

The following are diabetic eye diseases:

Diabetic retinopathy is dangerous for individuals with diabetes. The hallmark of diabetes is a persistently increased, excessive amount of sugar circulating through the blood. These microscopic bits of sugar then damage the blood vessels throughout the body. This harm extends to the blood vessels within the ever-important retina, which is chock-full of photoreceptor cells that sense light.

Diabetic macular edema is also a concern. Diabetes can lead to swelling (edema) in the macula, the center of your retina. This central portion is essential to everyday activities, including driving, reading, and discerning faces. Yet, as the macula continues to suffer damage due to swelling, an individual's central vision gradually worsens.

Diabetic eye diseases can accelerate other serious visual disorders

Diabetic eye diseases also encompass two more well-known conditions, cataracts and glaucoma. The formation of cataracts is accelerated by structural changes in the eye caused by diabetes.

Generally, cataracts are an age-related disorder. They begin forming in one's 40s – around this time, the proteins within the transparent lens of the eye begin to break down. As they break down, they also come together, forming cloudy clumps that block light from passing through the lens. As a result, patients experience blurriness and progressive vision loss. Cataracts are the world's leading cause of blindness, but this can quickly, safely, and effectively be reversed through cataract surgery.

Glaucoma can also be accelerated or caused by diabetic complications. Glaucoma is not a single disorder but a family of conditions that attack the optic nerve. And since the optic nerve sends signals from the eyes to the brain, glaucoma causes irreversible vision loss.

In particular, diabetes and diabetic retinopathy cause a specific form of glaucoma by compromising the blood vessels of the light-sensing retina at the back of the eye. As a result, new and faulty blood vessels grow, blocking fluid drainage within the eye. As fluid accumulates, pressure builds up and injures the neighboring tissues.

Take advantage of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness month, making this a great time to shore up your knowledge on how diabetes can adversely affect your ocular wellness and eyesight. For example, those experiencing vision loss, dark spots, color blindness, eye floaters, or trouble reading should contact us as soon as possible in Tuscaloosa, AL.

The suite of diabetic eye diseases generally shows no signs or symptoms in their formative stages, so an eye exam is vital to diagnose these conditions as early as possible. And by being proactive, you help yourself enjoy an optimal outcome and improve the chances of preventing more severe consequences and loss of visual acuity.

So, don't wait any longer; make the most of November by getting in touch with us at inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.