Diabetic Eye Disease
People who have diabetes are at high risk for a number of eye problems that can cause severe vision loss or blindness. The most common diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy, which is damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the lightsensitive membrane at the back of the eyeball. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels in the retina may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These changes can produce loss of vision or blindness.
In the early stages of the disease, no pain or other symptoms may be present. This is why, if you have diabetes, you should have your eyes examined at least once a year. During the examination, the doctor will use eyedrops to dilate (enlarge) your pupils so that he or she can see inside your eyes to check for signs of the disease. As diabetic retinopathy progresses, the person may experience blurred vision or vision loss.
Doctors treat diabetic retinopathy by using laser surgery to seal the leaking blood vessels or to shrink abnormal vessels. Diabetic retinopathy cannot be prevented, but you can reduce your risk of developing the disease and slow its onset and progression by keeping your blood glucose level within normal range.
A cataract is a cloudy covering that appears over the normally clear lens of the eye. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop cataracts as are people without diabetes. Cataracts also develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes. Usually cataracts can be surgically removed.
If you have diabetes, you also have twice the normal risk of developing glaucoma. This disease is caused by abnormally high pressure from excess fluid in the eyeball. The increased pressure damages the optic nerve and blood vessels in the eye, resulting in vision loss. Doctors treat glaucoma with medications or laser surgery.
Early detection and treatment, before vision loss occurs, are the best ways to control diabetic eye disease. If you have diabetes, make sure you have a thorough eye examination at least once a year.
Tags: Diabetes, Diabetic Eye Disease, Diabetic Retinopathy, eye problem, eye sight disorder, eye sight problem