Diabetes is linked to many health problems such as fatigue, heart disease, high blood pressure and nerve damage. With all these concerns, one factor that diabetic patients often overlook is eye health. Unfortunately, diabetics have greater odds of developing multiple debilitating eye conditions that can lead to blindness. To emphasize the need for regular eye examinations, the eye doctors at Berks Eye discuss a few diabetes-related conditions that warrant early treatment.
Diabetes can gradually damage the blood vessels that provide blood to the retina. Without sufficient blood, the eyes attempt to generate new blood vessels, but these new vessels tend to leak, which leads to vision loss and even blindness. Although diabetic retinopathy cannot be cured, it can be treated. After a patient is diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, eye doctors may suggest interventions like anti-VEGF injections and laser surgery to limit potential damage.
Because most optic damage occurs when blood sugar spikes, the best way for a patient to avoid diabetic retinopathy is to keep his or her diabetes under control by taking medications and managing blood sugar levels.
People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as the average person. This condition is characterized by a buildup of pressure in the eye that gradually damages the optic nerve. Many people with glaucoma do not recognize the symptoms until they have been robbed of a significant amount of sight. That makes early detection important.
An eye examination can help to identify glaucoma in its earliest stages. At that point, the patient can undergo treatments like prescription eye drops or laser surgery to relieve the pressure and prevent further vision loss.
Diabetics are also more likely to develop cataracts. Cataracts refer to a gradual protein buildup on the lens that blocks light from passing through properly, in turn causing blurry/hazy vision. Researchers believe that the swelling of the aqueous humor and damage to blood vessels are responsible for the increased risk of cataracts. Fortunately, cataract surgery is an easy and highly successful procedure that replaces the clouded natural lens of the eye with an artificial intraocular lens that allows the patient to see unimpaired.
Schedule an Appointment
If you have diabetes and are overdue for a comprehensive eye examination — or if you have already been diagnosed with an eye condition that warrants treatment — then meet with the skilled doctors at Berks Eye. For over 70 years, we have helped diabetic patients in the Reading, Pennsylvania area to preserve their vision. Please call (610) 372-0712 for an appointment.