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What you need to know about Diabetes and eye conditions

Posted in 'General' on August 9, 2013 by Stuart Macfarlane

While this past November was Diabetes Month, it is always time to be proactive and understand not only how diabetes can affect your overall health as a patient, but how it can specifically impact your vision and eye health.

Many diabetic conditions do not have warning signs, so it can be difficult to work through them and understand what is going on for patients. Additionally, if you have diabetes, it is important to understand what may be likely to affect you over time, as well as what you can do to prevent it and improve your overall health and quality of life.

But what is likely to affect diabetic patients, anyway? Well, unfortunately, quite a few conditions are likely to take hold for diabetics. Let's review just a few of them and see why it is important to get checked out and maintain good health over time:

Diabetic Retinopathy

In adults, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness, believe it or not. This is because blood vessels in the retina greatly change over time, and in some patients with this condition, blood vessels may swell, leak fluid, and otherwise create major problems that lead to blindness over time. In other patients still, abnormal blood vessels can grow on the surface of the retina itself, leading to blindness and other major vision problems.


Glaucoma occurs when fluid pressure is increased inside the eye, and in turn can lead to optic nerve damage that is irreparable over time, and then loss of overall vision. There are typically no warning signs or symptoms for glaucoma, or any signals that you may be in the early stages of the disease, so it is incredibly important to be checked out and maintain your good health over time. Annual eye exams help this process along, as they can tell you more and more about what you need to know regarding glaucoma and its related conditions for your eyes.


Finally, cataracts occur when the lens of your eye starts to lose vision and become cloudy over time, most typically in older patients and those with other vision issues and problems. Cataracts can also occur in patients who have suffered any sort of eye trauma or surgery, and in those who have had exposure to some type of radiation over time, as well. Diabetes remains a major risk factor for patients with cataracts, too; diabetic patients need to have consistent exams done by optometrists to ensure that their eyes are in good health, and that they are taking care of any cataract issues that may come up over time. If you have symptoms like blurry vision, poor night vision, double vision, or glare issues, you need to talk to your optometrist about it.

All in all, diabetics are affected by a host of unique eye and vision conditions, but an optometrist can help square things away and improve your health over time.