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The Eye and Diabetes

October 22, 2015 | By Christine Culgin

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The Eye and Diabetes

Diabetes is currently affecting the USA more than ever. Primary care physicians and endocrinologists are scrambling to ensure that their patients are receiving comprehensive eye exams annually. Do you know why?

Diabetes & Damage

Diabetes specifically affects small blood vessels throughout the body and can cause permanent damage to many organs if left untreated. Some of these blood vessels are viewable in the back of the eye, known as the retina. A comprehensive eye exam can detect if diabetes is affecting the eye.

Diabetes & Eye Symptoms

Diabetics will often complain of fluctuating vision.  This is a direct result of uncontrolled blood sugar levels.  As sugar levels increase, the molecules attract more water.  This uptake in water retention causes tissues in the eye to swell and enlarge.  This swelling in turns changes the way we see and can be very scary.  The swelling can occur rapidly, after a big meal or over a holiday vacation when you are feasting and straying from your regular diet.  These changes will reverse as the blood sugar normalizes.

Other symptoms related to diabetes include:

  • double vision
  • slow wound healing
  • cataracts
  • distorted vision
  • shadows in vision
  • floaters & spots
  • eye pain

 

Diabetes & Statistics

​Currently, about 10% of the population has diabetes, and more than 1 in 4 patients over the age of 65 has diabetes. About 20,000 people go blind from diabetes each year.

 

Topics: eye health

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