Smoking does not just increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, but can also damage your eyes. Although some changes to your eyes, such as dry eye, can be reversed, others c ...View Article
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Diabetes has long been infamous for its many devastating effects on the body, from neuropathy to diabetic comas. One of the biggest health challenges it can create is circulatory system damage -- and this problem has a direct impact on your eyes. Diabetes retinopathy and related disorders can cause progressive, irreversible eye damage long before you begin to experience vision loss. That's why early diagnosis and soonest possible treatment are critical. Fortunately, your friends on our 8-optometrist team at Eyecare Specialties can help you watch out for and respond to this threat in its earliest stages.
What does high blood sugar have to do you with the eyes? When the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to metabolize ingested sugars, the sugar that builds up in the bloodstream can harm the blood vessels walls, starting with smaller, thinner-walls blood vessels that serve the extremities -- and the eyes.
These delicate blood vessels can begin to leak blood into the gelatinous inner material of the eye known as the vitreous humor. This may cause floaters and other odd vision abnormalities. When the leakage occurs within the retinal tissue around the macula (the part of the retina that governs your central field of vision) can swell up and start to malfunction, a condition called macular edema. Low vision (especially at night), distorted color vision, blank spots or blurriness are all vision problems associated with this kind of disorder.
If damage to your eye's existing blood vessels wasn't bad enough, diabetes can also cause new blood vessels to proliferate -- and these new blood vessels are abnormal from the beginning, making them even more leakage prone. These destructive events can be going on for years before you even notice changes in your vision, which is why it's absolutely imperative that you get your eyes examined on a regular basis.
A comprehensive eye exam under pupil dilation, ideally administered every year, is our recommended first defense against diabetes of the eye. Even small deviations from normal ocular health or anatomy can be detected through a technique called retinoscopy. (Some patients actually discover that they're diabetic through this eye exam, instead of only learning about it years later during a routine physical.)
Eye care for your diabetes depends on how far it's advanced. If we don't see abnormal blood vessel development and you're not having vision problems, it may be sufficient to monitor your eyes closely while you control the underlying diabetes through medication, dietary changes, exercises and other doctor-recommended methods. Injectable medications may control blood vessel proliferation and reduce blood leakage. If necessary, we can also refer you for vitrectomy, a procedure to replace the blood-filled vitreous humor with saline.
Don't let diabetes get a head start on damaging your eyes. Call our Warrensburg, Sedalia, Clinton or Lee's Summit office for an eye exam!