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How Diabetes Can Affect Your Vision and Eyes

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Did you know that people with diabetes are 20 times more likely to develop eye diseases than non-diabetics? There are 3 major eye conditions that diabetics are at risk of developing: cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. To prevent these sight-threatening diseases, it's important to control your blood sugar levels and have your eyes checked at least once a year by an eye doctor.

What's the Link Between Vision and Diabetes?

Blurred or fluctuating vision tends to be one of the first warning signs that diabetes has begun to affect your eyes. Blurred vision, for example, may be due to fluid leaking into the eye’s lens, causing your lens to swell and change shape. This, in turn, makes it difficult for the eyes to focus, resulting in blurred and fuzzy vision. This may mean that an eye disease has developed, or may simply be due to imbalanced blood sugar levels, which can be rectified by getting your blood sugar back to healthy levels.

Eye Conditions Associated with Diabetes

Cataracts

Cataracts, which are caused by the buildup of proteins on the normally clear crystalline lens, are common in people over 60. For those with diabetes, cataracts often develop earlier in life. Cataracts impede light from entering the eye, causing blurred vision. Left untreated, they eventually lead to vision loss and possibly blindness. The way to treat cataracts is by undergoing cataract surgery that replaces the cloudy lens with an artificial lens.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases where internal eye pressure damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. Glaucoma generally shows no symptoms until vision loss becomes noticeable. This is why early detection is the key to treating and stopping the progression of this disease. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to peripheral vision loss followed by permanent central vision loss.

Although there is no cure for glaucoma, it can be treated and controlled to prevent deterioration of your vision. Most glaucoma patients manage this disease with special eye drops, medication, and on occasion, laser treatment or other surgery. The earlier the disease is diagnosed and managed, the better the outcome.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels in the retina become weakened and then balloon due to the high blood sugar levels. As the abnormal blood vessels grow, they bleed, causing scar tissue, retinal detachment, and in extreme cases, blindness.

Often there are no symptoms until the advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, where patients may begin to see spots and missing patches in their vision. Retinopathy can be treated through surgery and eye injections, but the best way to prevent this disease from progressing is to regularly have your eyes screened.

If you have diabetes, it is all the more crucial to take care of your eyes and blood sugar levels and to get comprehensive eye exams at least once a year.

If your eyes and blood sugar levels are not attended to, diabetes can lead to vision deterioration and potentially irreversible ocular damage. Contact us today to set up your appointment.

At Village Eye Centre, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 587-410-5920 or book an appointment online to see one of our North Edmonton eye doctors.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. James Evans

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sherwood Park, Alberta. Visit Village Eye Centre Sherwood Park for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

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