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Posted on 04-10-2018

Diabetes and Your Vision

Diabetes, while manageable, can sometimes be a challenge to live with. Diabetes affects nearly every system in the body, including the eyes. Your vision is important and if you have diabetes, it's crucial to learn how this condition may affect your eye health and what you can do to be proactive about your eye care. 

Woman getting a diabetic eye exam.

What is Diabetic Eye Disease? 

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), a diabetic eye disease is a group of eye conditions that affect individuals with diabetes. Diabetes-specific conditions include diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, while other conditions like glaucoma and cataracts can affect individuals without diabetes but occur at a higher rate in diabetic individuals. These diseases can cause significant visual and eye health changes, impacting daily life. 

Diabetic Retinopathy 

Diabetic retinopathy can be either non-proliferative (where the capillaries inside the eye swell) or proliferative (where blood vessels are damaged enough to become closed off). Non-proliferative retinopathy typically doesn't cause vision loss, however, it can progress to proliferative retinopathy, where hemorrhaging can occur. 

Diabetic Macular Edema 

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the capillary walls inside the eye become weak, causing fluid to leak underneath the macula. The macula is the centermost point of vision, and fluid leakage here can cause fast and permanent central vision loss. 

Glaucoma 

Glaucoma is an eye condition where the pressure inside the eye builds causing the blood vessels that carry oxygen to the optic nerve and retina to become compressed. As the optic nerve and retina become damaged due to lack of blood flow, vision is lost. According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals with diabetes are 40% more likely to develop glaucoma than individuals without diabetes. 

Cataracts 

Cataracts occur when the lens behind the cornea becomes clouded, making vision blurred and hazy. Many people develop cataracts with age, however, diabetics are 60% more likely to develop cataracts. 

These conditions can lead to serious complications, including vision loss, however, they can be monitored and managed by a qualified optometrist.

How Diabetics Can Maintain Healthy Vision 

If you have diabetes, it's more important than ever before to get regular vision exams at least annually or more frequently if you have one of the above eye conditions and your eye doctor recommends it. At the Eye Gallery, our experienced Texas optometrists can provide you with comprehensive eye care designed to keep your eyes healthy and your vision as clear as possible.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment by calling (972) 519-0006 or (214) 305-4020. 

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