Diabetes And The Eyes

Today, we are going to talk about diabetes and the eyes. Whether you've just found out you have diabetes or if you've been living with it for a while one of the best things you can do for yourself is learn everything you can about diabetes. 

Facts from the Canadian Diabetes Association:

  • With an estimated 3.4 million Canadians living with diabetes, it touches most of us.  Untreated, type 2 diabetes can cause severe health problems and even be fatal.
  •  Early detection for those who have the disease can decrease complications and improve an individual’s quality of life.

Why should people with diabetes have their eyes checked regularly?

Diabetes and its complications can affect not only your vision, but the delicate structures inside your eye. Diabetes can cause fluctuating blood sugar which in turn can cause fluctuating vision. However, the most serious eye problem associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.

  • Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels in the retina of your eye, resulting in fluid leakage, the growth of new blood vessels and other changes. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness.
  • Early detection of diabetic retinopathy through a comprehensive eye exam is crucial, as treatment is much more likely to be successful at an early stage.
  • Several factors that increase the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy include smoking, high blood pressure, drinking alcohol and pregnancy.
  • See your physician regularly and follow instructions about diet, exercise and medication. See your doctor of optometry for a thorough eye examination when you are first diagnosed with diabetes, at least annually thereafter and more frequently if recommended.

I have had a personal experience with a family member who has been diagnosed with diabetes through an eye exam.  I can say without a doubt that his diabetes would not have been found for a very long time had he not had a comprehensive eye exam.  His early diagnosis helped prevent any further damage to his body because of fluctuating blood glucose.

I encourage all of you, once again, to have a comprehensive eye exam regularly whether you have 20/20 vision or not.

Teri Hines