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Diabetes

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Vision and Eyes

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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Does Obesity Impact Eye Health?

Nation-wide awareness about the vast dangers of obesity is at an all-time high, with TV shows like “The Biggest Loser” and health initiatives such as Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign shining a spotlight on the importance of fitness and good nutrition. However, despite the public’s knowledge of obesity’s effects on hypertension, stroke, and diabetes, many are not aware of how it damages eye health and vision.

Increasing evidence shows that people who are clinically obese have an elevated risk of developing serious eye diseases. It is widely known that expanding waistlines place people at a higher risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, and cancer — but researchers say the link between obesity and deteriorating vision is the “risk factor that no one talks about”. Professor Michael Belkin and Dr. Zohar Habot-Wilner, from the Goldschleger Eye Institute at the Sheba Medical Center, found a consistently strong correlation between obesity and the development of four major eye diseases that may cause blindness:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy

The researchers said that although the evidence was out there suggesting a link between obesity and these conditions, their study emphasizes the optometric risks of obesity which can help motivate people to shed those extra pounds.

How Obesity Contributes to Eye Disease

A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 is considered overweight and above 30 is regarded as obese. A high BMI is tied to several chronic systemic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, among others. Recent research indicates that a handful of ocular diseases can now be added to that list.

Serious eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration are more common in individuals with obesity, as well as floppy eyelid syndrome, retinal vein occlusions, thyroid-related eye diseases, and stroke-related vision loss.

The connection between obesity and these eye diseases is likely due to the increased risk of peripheral artery disease. This occurs when the tiny blood vessels bringing oxygen to parts of your body like the feet, kidneys, and eyes become compromised.

Your eyes are particularly prone to damage from obesity because the blood vessels in the eyes (called arterioles) are easily blocked, since they’re extremely thin and small — as thin as ½ the width of a human hair!

Most people are not aware that obesity may increase the rate of developing cataracts, too. Cataracts result when the focusing lens in the eye becomes cloudy and requires surgery to be replaced. In addition to age, cataract development is associated with obesity, poor nutrition, gout, diabetes and high blood sugar levels, though the exact cause isn’t clear.

A Healthy Lifestyle Can Reduce Your Risk of Ocular Disease

Knowing about the risk of vision loss may give those with a high BMI the extra motivational boost they need to lose weight. The good news is that a few lifestyle changes can reduce the associated risks.

An active lifestyle and a balanced, nutritious diet lower obesity and improve overall physical and eye health. Give your body a boost by incorporating important nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, zeaxanthin, omega 3, zinc, and lutein, many of which are found in green leafy and dark orange vegetables, as they have been shown to reduce the onset, progression, and severity of certain eye diseases.

We Can Help Keep Your Eyes Healthy in North Edmonton

While a healthy diet and regular exercise greatly increase your chances of living a disease-free long life, they alone are not enough to ensure long term healthy eyesight. Regular eye exams with Dr. James Evans can help prevent or detect the onset of ocular disease, and maintain vision that is clear and comfortable.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your vision or eye health, don’t hesitate to call Village Eye Centre — we’re here for you.

Vision Warnings for Diabetics

Watch out for these symptoms of diabetic eye disease

Diabetic eye disease describes a bunch of ocular problems that can affect people with diabetes. This group of problems includes diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, diabetic macular edema, and cataracts. Over time, especially when diabetes is uncontrolled, high blood sugars can damage your eyes. As a result, you may suffer reduced eyesight or even blindness. However, by taking care of your diabetes and managing blood sugar levels according to your doctor’s guidelines, you can help prevent diabetic eye disease or stop it from progressing. To learn more about how diabetics can protect their eyes, visit our eye doctor in North Edmonton, Downtown Edmonton, and Sherwood Park, Alberta.

What are the early symptoms of diabetic eye disease?

Typically, there are no early warning signs for diabetic retinopathy. Only a comprehensive eye exam by a qualified eye doctor can detect the beginning of diabetic eye problems.

However, if your blood sugars run high (even for a short time), you may have blurry vision that goes away when your glucose level returns closer to normal.

What symptoms of diabetic retinopathy appear later?

As diabetic retinopathy progresses, you may experience:

  • Blurry or wavy vision
  • Dark areas
  • Seeing many floaters
  • Flashes of light
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Poor color vision

If you have any of these symptoms, call your eye doctor to schedule an eye exam.

Does glaucoma cause any symptoms?

Signs of glaucoma to watch out for include:

  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Reddening of the eyes
  • Ocular pain
  • Nausea, vomiting

If you have any of these symptoms, call your eye doctor immediately for assistance.

Are there any visual symptoms that are an eye emergency?

Some symptoms indicate that you should contact your eye doctor immediately for an urgent eye exam, such as:

  • A dark curtain sliding over your vision
  • Double vision
  • Flashing lights
  • Severe eye pain
  • Pressure

Diabetic eye exams

At Village Eye Centre, we perform specialized diabetic eye exams to inspect for signs of a problem. If you have diabetes, you can prevent vision loss by booking regular appointments with our eye doctor in North Edmonton, Downtown Edmonton, and Sherwood Park, Alberta.

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.

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3 Ways Diabetes Can Affect Your Vision and Eyes

Did you know that people with diabetes are 20 times more likely to get eye diseases than those without it? There are three major eye conditions that diabetics are at risk for developing: cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. To prevent these sight-threatening diseases, it’s important to control your blood sugar level and have your eyes checked at least once a year by an eye doctor. 

But First, What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that is associated with high blood glucose levels. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps our cells get energy from the sugars we eat. Diabetes develops when the body doesn’t produce or respond to insulin effectively, leaving too much sugar in the blood stream instead. Over time, diabetes can lead to potentially irreversible ocular damage and poor eyesight. However, by taking care of your blood sugar levels and your eyes, you can prevent vision loss.

Annual eye exams are recommended for everyone, but routine screenings are even more important for diabetics. Eye doctors may send diabetic eye health reports to a patient’s primary care physician or internist to adjust medication as needed to prevent complications.

What’s the Link Between Vision and Diabetes? 

Blurred vision or fluctuating eyesight clarity is often one of the first noticeable signs that diabetes has begun to affect your eyes. Sometimes, fluid leaking into the eye causes the lens to swell and change shape. This, in turn, makes it difficult for the eyes to focus, resulting in fuzzy vision. Such symptoms can indicate that an eye disease is developing, or may simply be due to imbalanced blood sugar levels which can be rectified by getting your blood sugar back to healthy levels. 

If you start to notice blurry vision, make an appointment with Dr. James Evans as soon as possible.

The 3 Ways Diabetes Impacts Vision 

Cataracts

While cataracts are extremely common and a part of the natural aging process, those with diabetes tend to develop cataracts earlier in life. Characterized by a clouding or fogging of the lens within the eye, cataracts impede light from entering the eye, causing blurred vision and glares. The best treatment is cataract surgery, which is very safe and effective. 

Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases characterized by optic nerve damage. Since it tends to impact peripheral vision first, glaucoma often goes unnoticed until significant damage has occurred. However, routine glaucoma screenings can detect warning signs; early treatment can prevent disease progression and vision loss. 

Although there is no true cure for glaucoma, most glaucoma patients successfully manage it with special eye drops, medication, and on occasion, laser treatment or other surgery. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and managed, the better the outcome.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels on your retina (capillaries) become weakened and then balloon (microaneurysm) due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels. The resulting poor blood circulation in the back of the eye causes more abnormal blood vessels to grow, which also bleed or leak fluid, and can lead to scar tissue, retinal detachment and even blindness, over time.

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.

The good news is that diabetic eye disease can often be prevented with early detection, proper management of your diabetes and regular diabetic eye exams. Contact Village Eye Centre in North Edmonton to set up your eye doctor’s appointment today. 

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