Diabetes is often associated with health problems like cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, skin conditions and coronary artery disease. But there are also eye conditions that could develop as a result of diabetes. If you have diabetes, regular eye exams can keep your eyes healthy and prevent minor issues from becoming bigger problems.
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina, and typically affects both eyes. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. If you have diabetic retinopathy, at first you may not notice changes to your vision. But over time, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and eventually cause vision loss.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes are 40 percent more likely to develop glaucoma than people without diabetes. Glaucoma occurs when pressure builds up in the eye and pinches the blood vessels that carry blood to them. This slowly causes vision loss due to retina and nerve damage. Glaucoma treatment includes eye drops, laser surgery and medication.
People with diabetes are also more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age than those without. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, making vision blurred or cloudy. Cataract treatment includes surgery that removes the clouded lens and replaces it with a plastic intraocular lens.
Finding and treating conditions early is the best way to control eye disease in people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, be sure you receive a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Also, keep good control of your glucose levels and other health problems, like high blood pressure, kidney disease, and elevated cholesterol. If you notice problems with your vision, contact Illinois Eye Center at (309) 243-2400 for an appointment. Visit s our website for more eye health information at illinoiseyecenter.com.