Diabetes Puts Your Eyes at Risk
Diabetes is a systemic disease that affects your body’s ability to produce (type 1) or use (type 2) insulin. When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into blood sugar used for energy. Insulin is the hormone that processes this blood sugar for your cells.
When your body cannot process blood sugar, it stays in your bloodstream. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to your organs, nerves, and blood vessels, particularly the vessels in your eyes. Those with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases.
If you have diabetes, it is recommended that you have an annual dilated eye exam that focuses on your eye health in conjunction with your diabetes. Advanced Eye Physician provides thorough diabetic eye exams that focus on your unique risk. Please, request your appointment today.
Common Diabetic Eye Diseases
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases commonly associated with increased intraocular pressure (IOP); however, some types of glaucoma occur even when IOP remains in the normal range.
Glaucoma develops silently, damaging the optic nerve over time with little or no symptoms. It can eventually cause vision loss and even blindness. Those with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than those without diabetes.
The best protection against glaucoma is regular eye exams. Glaucoma progression can be slowed with medication, preventing vision loss. There are various treatments, many offered by our optometrists and ophthalmologists at Advanced Eye Physician.
If you are interested in learning more about glaucoma and available treatments, please check out our glaucoma treatment page or call us to book an appointment.
Cataracts are the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Looking through a cataract is much like looking through a frosted window. Cataracts are often associated with aging and develop slowly over time. Those with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts and at a younger age than average.
Early cataracts are easily managed with eyeglasses or contact lenses, but they will eventually worsen and interfere with your vision. As cataracts progress, you may require cataract removal surgery, which can be done at our clinic at Advanced Eye Physician.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that damages the blood vessels in the retina. It occurs when blood sugar levels remain too high for too long. Anyone with diabetes (type 1, type 2, and gestational) can develop retinopathy.
This eye disease can lead to vision loss and blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated.
Non-proliferative retinopathy occurs when the walls of the retinal blood vessels weaken and begin to bulge. These weakened vessels can start to break and leak fluid and blood into the retina.
Sometimes, the nerve fibers in the macula can begin to swell, leading to a complication called macular edema.
As retinopathy advances, it can develop into proliferative diabetic retinopathy. It occurs when the retinal blood vessels are blocked entirely, causing your eye to grow new, abnormal vessels to compensate. These vessels are weak and easily break, leaking blood into the vitreous.
Scar tissue can develop around these new blood vessels and may cause the vitreous to detach from the retina.
Detecting & Diagnosing Diabetic Eye Disease
At Advanced Eye Physician, we have invested in advanced diagnostic technology that gives us a high-definition insight into your ocular health.
Ocular coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive technology that takes cross-section images of the retina to map and measure its various layers. These measurements allow your eye physician to detect and diagnose diseases that affect the retina, such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, and age-related macular degeneration.
Fundus photography is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that takes a photograph of the back of the eye. These images allow your eye physician to detect and diagnose eye diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, and blood vessels, and monitor the effectiveness of treatments.