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DIABETES

HOW DOES DIABETES AFFECT THE EYE?

Diabetes can have significant effects on the eye, leading to a range of conditions collectively known as diabetic eye disease. These conditions can cause severe vision loss or even blindness if not properly managed. Here’s how diabetes affects the eye:

The most direct impact of diabetes on the eye is diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina — the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. This can lead to:

  • Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR): The early stage, where blood vessels in the retina weaken, bulge, and leak fluid into the surrounding retinal tissue, causing swelling and distorted vision.
  • Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR): The more advanced form, characterized by the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels on the surface of the retina or the optic nerve, which can bleed into the eye and cause scarring or retinal detachment, leading to severe vision loss or blindness.
  • Diabetic Maculopathy is a complication of diabetic retinopathy where fluid accumulates in the macula — the part of the retina responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision. This swelling can lead to vision distortion or loss.
  • Cataracts – Diabetes can lead to the earlier development of cataracts, a condition where the eye’s lens becomes cloudy. People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age, and the progression can be faster than in individuals without diabetes.
  • The risk of glaucoma — a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve — is nearly double in people with diabetes. Glaucoma often leads to peripheral vision loss initially and can progress to total blindness if not treated.

HOW CAN OUR OPTOMETRISTS DETECT DIABETES?

Early detection through regular eye exams is critical, as diabetic eye diseases often start without any noticeable symptoms. If you have diabetes, it’s essential to see an eye care professional regularly — they can monitor your eye health and recommend treatments to protect your vision. At Abra & Co., our team of optometrists is equipped with the knowledge and technology to manage the ocular effects of diabetes effectively, ensuring you receive comprehensive care tailored to your needs.

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