Diabetes and Eyesight

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way we process food for energy and growth. With all forms of diabetes—type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes—the body has trouble converting sugar in the blood into energy, resulting in a host of potential health problems. Diabetes increases the likelihood that common diabetes-related vision problems or diseases might occur:

  • Diabetics are prone to developing cataracts (a clouding of the eye’s lens) at an earlier age.
  • People with diabetes are almost 50% more likely to develop glaucoma, an eye disorder that damages the optic nerve often marked by an increase of internal eye pressure.
  • Macular edema (and macular degeneration) are more common in diabetics due to malfunctioning blood vessels in the middle region of the retina responsible for central, sharp vision.
  • Most notably, diabetes can result in diabetic retinopathy; an eye disease that affects the blood vessels in the all-important retina. Nearly 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.

That’s why there’s no separating diabetes and vision. If you have diabetes, then you should understand vision problems that increase in likelihood as a result of the disease.

Diabetes Statistics

Over 21 million people in the United States have diabetes, with an estimated additional 6 million people unaware they have a form of the disease. What’s more, an estimated 54 million Americans ages 40 to 74 have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. According to a recent American Optometric Association survey, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults ages 20 to 74.

Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Overview of Diabetic Retinopathy
    Since the retina is the light-sensitive region of the back of the eye responsible for processing visual images, diabetic retinopathy can affect your vision in mild, moderate or even severe ways.
  • Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
    If you have diabetes, you probably know that your body can't use or store sugar properly. When your blood sugar gets too high, it can damage the blood vessels in your eyes. This damage may lead to diabetic retinopathy. In fact, the longer someone has diabetes, the more likely they are to have retinopathy (damage to the retina) from the disease.
  • Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy
    Changes in blood-sugar levels increase your risk of diabetic retinopathy, as does long-term diabetes.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with a laser to seal off leaking blood vessels and inhibit the growth of new vessels. Called laser photocoagulation, this treatment is painless and takes only a few minutes.

In some patients, blood leaks into the vitreous humor and clouds vision. The eye doctor may choose to simply wait to see if the clouding will dissipate on its own, or a procedure called a vitrectomy may be performed to remove blood that has leaked into the vitreous humor.

Small studies using investigational treatments for diabetic retinopathy have demonstrated significant vision improvement for individuals who are in early stages of the disease. Two medications that are closely related, Lucentis and Avastin, may be able to stop or reverse vision loss, similar to very promising results that have been reported when the two drugs have been used as treatments for macular degeneration.

Dauphin

115 – 2nd Avenue NW
Dauphin, MB R7N 1H3
Phone: (204) 638-3223
Fax: (204) 638-9098

HOURS

Monday to Friday: 8:00 to 5:00
Closed on the last Friday of every month from 12-1pm. 

Roblin

W.E. Nash Clinic, 15 Hospital Street
Roblin, MB R0L 1P0
Phone: (204) 937-8305
Fax: (204) 638-9098

HOURS

Monday: 8:30 to 5:00
Tuesday to Thursday: 9:00 to 5:00
Friday: 9:00 to 4:00

This office is part of

© Ashcroft Vision Care. All Rights Reserved | Designed by Bankert Marketing Inc.