Diabetes Brings Eye Health Risks
Millions of people throughout the United States have diabetes, which raises their risk of developing potentially severe eye diseases. If you have diabetes, it’s important to be proactive about seeing your eye doctor for preventive care.Not all eye diseases linked to diabetes have obvious signs until they affect your vision. But your eye doctor has the skills, knowledge, and technology to detect these problems before your sight is compromised. Let our optometrists look out for your eyes and help prevent diabetes from affecting them.
What Eye Diseases Are Linked to Diabetes?
- Swelling and leaking fluid into your eyes
- Closing up so blood can no longer pass through
- Causing scar tissue to form in the eye, which can detach your retina
Diabetic Macular Edema
When diabetic retinopathy progresses, it can cause diabetic macular edema (DME). DME creates excess fluid build-up in the portion of your retina called the macula, causing it to swell. A swollen macula can severely impact your central vision, which is vital for:
- Recognizing other people’s faces
- Performing many other daily, detailed tasks
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause optic nerve damage. Most kinds of glaucoma develop quietly over many years without any noticeable signs. However, other forms can appear quickly with painful symptoms and are considered medical emergencies.
All forms of glaucoma can cause permanent blindness without an eye doctor’s help. Having diabetes makes you twice as likely to develop the most common type of glaucoma, so we test for glaucoma during every diabetic eye exam.
Cataracts appear when proteins clump together inside your eye’s lens and turn it cloudy over time. Some people compare having cataracts to looking through a foggy window all the time. If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age than other people.
Cataract surgery can often restore vision that cataracts have obscured. An ophthalmologist typically performs this surgery by extracting the cloudy lens and putting in an artificial replacement.
When Should I Have Eye Exams If I Have Diabetes?
Anyone with diabetes should visit their optometrist for an eye exam once a year. More chances for us to detect diabetic eye diseases means more time for us to help you treat them. Sometimes, eye exams can even reveal signs of undiagnosed diabetes.
Let’s work together to help protect your eyes from diabetes. Schedule a diabetic eye exam at our practice today.