If you have diabetes, you may have already been told that it can cause eye problems and potentially lead to blindness.
CHICAGO, IL, September 01, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- If you have diabetes, you may have already been told that it can cause eye problems and potentially lead to blindness. Attending regular check-ups with an experienced ophthalmologist is important in order to control the impact your diabetes has on your eyesight. An ophthalmologist can help you keep minor problems minor, and detect any major problems in their early stages, when they are more easily treatable. Blindness from the effects of diabetes on the eye cannot almost always be prevented with early treatment.
Preventing Major Diabetes-Related Eye Problems
You can take several different steps to help prevent and reduce eye problems caused by diabetes. Some of the most important steps include:
- Keep your blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible.
- Maintain low normal to normal blood pressure.
- Having an experienced ophthalmologist examine your eyes at least once a year.
- Ask your ophthalmologist to check for signs of glaucoma and cataracts.
- If you are planning to become pregnant soon, see an ophthalmologist during the first three months of pregnancy.
- Avoid smoking.
All of these actions will help keep you one step ahead of diabetes-related eye problems.
How Diabetes Harms the Eyes
The high blood pressure and high blood glucose (sugar) that are characteristic of diabetes can harm four different parts of your eyes:
- Retina - The lining at the back of your eyes that senses incoming light.
- Vitreous - A jelly-like fluid that fills the back portion of your eyes.
- Optic nerve - Your eye's main nerve to the brain.
- Lens - Focuses light on the retina at the front of your eye.
High blood pressure can damage the tiny blood vessels in your retinas, causing them to swell and weaken. Some other blood vessels may then become clogged, preventing the right amount of blood from getting through. This leads to the development of new blood vessel growth. These new blood vessels are not as strong as normal vessels and leak. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy.
Glaucoma and Diabetes
Diabetics are 40% more likely to have glaucoma than those without diabetes. Glaucoma is an eye disease that involves fluid pressure building up in your eye, leading to death of the optic nerve. Not until the very end is the loss noticed as it occurs in the periphery of your visual field. Glaucoma untreated will lead to blindness.
The longer you have had diabetes, the more at risk you will be of developing glaucoma. Your glaucoma risk level will also increase with age.
Cataracts and Diabetes
While many people who are not diabetics still develop cataracts, your chances of getting cataracts increase by 60% if you have diabetes. People with diabetes tend to develop cataracts at a younger age, and the cataracts themselves often progress faster. This effect is associated with fluctuations of blood sugars. Cataract surgery can be performed to replace your eye's natural lens, but patients should be aware that removal of your eye's lens can sometimes increase the severity of diabetic retinopathy.
If you have further questions about diabetes and the eye, please visit the website of experienced Chicago ophthalmologist Dr. Mark Golden at Doctors For Visual Freedom today at http://www.doctorsforvisualfreedom.com.
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