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Diabetes And Your Eyes  
05/16/2012

Diabetes And Your Eyes

Most people do not realize that there is such a strong connection between Diabetes and the eyes.  In fact, the health of the eyes is so intertwined with diabetes that individuals with diabetes need to take special care to monitor eye health. To avoid potential eye damage, a diabetic should see an eye care professional consistently. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between diabetes and your eyes.

What Can Diabetes Do To The Eyes?

Diabetes has the potential to damage nearly every structure in the eye.  This is a real possibility that is shown by the fact that the number one cause of blindness in the United States is by diabetes. The probability that the eye will be adversely affected by Diabetes, increases the longer an individual has diabetes.  It has been shown that after 15 years with diabetes 2/3 of individuals will have eye damage.  This number of individuals increases up to 90% after the ages of 30 to 40 years. Clearly, the connection between diabetes and the eyes is a strong correlation and is one that cannot be gone unnoticed by anyone with diabetes.

What Can An Individual With Diabetes Do To Protect Their Eyes?

The first thing that a person with diabetes need to do to help protect their eyes is to visit their eye care specialist every year to get a dilated-eye exam. This is an exam in which eye drops are used to dilate the eye so that the doctors can see the interior of the eye to assess its status.  The doctor then will be able to tell each patient how often they should return for similar testing.  In general, these evaluations will only be necessary once or twice a year, however in some cases patients may be instructed to return for evaluation as often as 2 to 3 months, depending on the severity of retinal problems. People with diabetes need to stay alert to any changes in their vision like blurred vision, hemorrhaging, or any other changes. If any of these changes occur, then they need to seek professional help as soon as possible.

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy is a condition in which the retinal cells in the back of the eye that are sensitive to light become damaged.  This condition is present in an incredible 70% of individuals who have diabetes and is commonly diagnosed 10 years following the diagnosis for the diabetes.  The degree of damage depends on this individual, however 70% of individuals have some level of damage at this time. Diabetic Retinopathy may be treated through the use of laser surgery, but the appropriate treatment will have to be determined by a doctor based on the specifics of a patient's situation.

What Other Eye Health Issues Can Be A Result Of Diabetes?

Retinal Detachment is also a risk for individuals with diabetes.  The retina can sustain damage so that it is torn, has a hole in it, or even detaches completely from the back portion of the eye.  This can be determined by an up close examination where a lens is used to view the edges of the retina.  This type of damage may again be treated by laser therapy or may be addressed using a freezing process.  Surgery is often necessary when Retinal Detachment has progressed to its advanced stages and must be treated quickly so that the retina can be reattached.  Quick reattachment will help to ensure that the retina receives the nutrition it needs and not dying off which results in vision loss. 

Diabetes calls for vigilance when it comes to eye health.  Individuals with Diabetes need to seek out regular eye exams to check for eye problems that result from the Diabetes and be aware of changes in their eye sight.   There are treatments available for many of these problems as long as the individual discovers them in time through proper eye care.