Diabetes and Eye Health

Diabetes & Eye Health

You may have heard that, among its other complications, diabetes can lead to blindness. While it’s true that people with diabetes are more vulnerable to loss of vision, it’s not exactly the disease itself that causes the problem. Rather, diabetes makes people more susceptible to eye diseases, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and macular edema.

  • Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease. In fact, about one in three people over forty who have diabetes also have some signs of diabetic retinopathy. In this condition, high blood sugar levels cause damage to small blood vessels in the retina and, if it’s not treated early, this can cause blindness. Fortunately, early diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent.
  • People with diabetes tend to get cataracts earlier than other people. Unfortunately, cataracts also progress faster in diabetics. Cataracts cloud the eye’s natural lens, causing blurry vision and glare. Sometimes, these symptoms can be managed with eyeglasses, but usually, cataracts are treated with surgery. For a person with diabetes, vision after cataract surgery largely depends on whether other eye diseases are also present.
  • Diabetic macular edema usually occurs in people who already have signs of diabetic retinopathy. This condition involves swelling of the macula, the part of the retina necessary for reading, driving, and seeing people’s faces. This swelling is caused by fluid seeping from blood vessels into the retina and can cause permanent damage that can lead to partial vision loss or blindness. Treatment for macular edema may include medications injected into the eye to stop the leaking, or lasers can be used to seal leaking blood vessels.

If you have an eye problem associated with diabetes, you might not even know it. Many of these conditions do not cause symptoms until they’ve progressed to the point that jeopardizes your vision and is difficult to correct. Catching them in the early stages is the best way to protect your vision, and the only way to do that is through regular eye exams. That’s why it’s important to find an eye doctor who is experienced with vision problems caused by diabetes.

We proudly serve patients in Derry, Londonderry, Windham, and Raymond providing personalized eye care using top of the line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.434.4193 or contact us through our website.