DIABETES AND EYE

Diabetes mellitus, more commonly known as diabetes, is a disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. High blood sugar, a disorder  occuring either due to deficiency of the hormone insulin or a combination of insulin deficiency and resistance of body tissues to its actions. Too much glucose in the blood-uncontrolled blood sugar- for a long time can cause serious damage in many parts of the body, including the heart,kidneys, blood vessels, and the small blood vessels in the eyes.Diabetic eye disease comprises a group of eye conditions that affect people with diabetes.These conditions include blurry vision, cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME). All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss and blindness.

How diabetes can affect your eyes?

Blurry vision: as soon as you notice things look blurry, don’t change your glasses immediately; it could just be a problem caused by high blood sugar. If your blood sugar level changes quickly,it can affect the shape of your eye’s lens,causing blurry vision. Your lens could swell, which changes your ability to see. To correct it, you need to get your blood sugar back into the target range. It may take as long as 3 months for your vision to fully get back to normal .

Cataracts: a clouding of the eye’s lens.the lens allows your eye to see and focus on an image, just like a camera. Cataracts cloud your normally clear lens with debris. People with diabetes tend to get them earlier and they get worse faster. Adults with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely than those without diabetes to develop cataracts.

Glaucoma: diabetes nearly doubles the risk of glaucoma.treating open end glaucoma-the most common form- with medications lowers eye pressure, speeds up drainage, reduces the amount of liquid your eye makes. This type of glaucoma may not cause any symptoms until it’s further along and you have major vision loss. Your doctor can catch it earlier during an annual exam.

Diabetic macular edema(DME): a consequence of diabetic retinopathy, DME is swelling(edema) in an area of the retina  called the macula. The macula is important for the sharp, straight-ahead vision that is used for reading,recognizing faces and driving.

Diabetic Retinopathy: the retina, turning the light into images that the optic nerve sends to your brain, is a group of cells on the back of your eye that take in the light. Damage to small blood vessels -outcome of high blood sugar levels- in your retina causes diabetic retinopathy. Of not found and treated early, it is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes.

Symptoms and Detection of diabetic retinopathy and DME:

There are usually no symptoms in early stages (or only mild vision problems) and it often progresses unnoticed until it affects vision. Bleeding from abnormal retinal blood vessels can cause the appearance of floating spots which sometimes clear on their own; however, without prompt treatment, bleeding often recurs,increasing the risk of permanent vision loss. Of DME occurs it can cause blurred vision. Even if your vision seems fine,you may visit your eye doctor for a yearly eye exam with dilation if you have diabetes. During pregnancy , diabetic retinopathy may worsen so your eye doctor may recommend additional eye exams throughout your pregnancy.

Treatment

To keep your blood sugar under control is obviously the first step to lower your chances getting diabetic retinopathy. But if you have proliferative diabetic retinopathy or macular edema , you need prompt intense medical-surgical treatment. Depending on specific problems with your retina, there are 3 main options you have fort he treatment process:

  • Photocoagulation: also known as focal laser treatment, this procedure treats leaks from abnormal blood vessels with laser burns, which stop sor slows the leakage of blood and fluid in the eye.
  • Injecting medicine into the eye: to stop growth of new blood vessels,bleeding and edema.
  • Vitrectomy: this procedure is done under loca lor general anesthesia,using a tiny incision in your eye to remove blood from the middle of the eye as well as scar tissue that is tugging on the retina.
  • Even after treatment for diabetic retinopathy you need regular eye exams. At some point additional treatment may be recommended.
  • Early detection,timely treatment and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect against vision loss and blindness.

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