Posted on: 16 September 2016Share
When you see the eye doctor, one of the questions you'll always be asked is whether you suffer from diabetes. This is because diabetes and eye problems go hand in hand, so doctors are on the lookout for any signs of disease. Here is what you need to know about diabetic eye disease in order to protect your vision and treat it in the future.
Not Just One Condition
Diabetic eye disease is actually the name given to a group of conditions. They include diabetic macular edema, glaucoma, cataracts, and more. All of these diseases are serious, as they can lead to permanent vision loss.
Each disease tends to affect different types of patients. Those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be affected by the conditions. Catching the diseases early helps to increase the chance of reversal and protection of eyesight, but you will also benefit by keeping your diabetes under control.
Diabetic Retinopathy the Most Serious
The most serious of problems is diabetic retinopathy. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly all patients who have had Type 1 diabetes for more than 20 years and 60 percent of patients with Type 2 diabetes will have some degree of retinopathy. This occurs when the blood vessels within the eye leak into the retina or are blocked. It is the most common reason for vision loss in diabetic patients, and the most common reason for vision loss in any person under 65.
If left untreated, the blocked vessels stop the oxygen going to the eye. They eye is forced to grow new vessels, and this is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. The body attempts to repair the damage, but is affected due to weaker vessels in the wrong place, which causes more damage.
The condition can also lead to diabetic macular edema, which is when the macula swells and causes vision loss. Only when the condition gets to this point is treatment, usually laser therapy, necessary.
Catarats and Glaucoma
While anyone can experience these conditions, having diabetes can increase the risk of developing them. Those with diabetes are also likely to develop the conditions at a younger age. Both lead to blindness, but cataracts can sometimes be treated.
Cataracts are a whitish film that forms over the eye. Removing this film is the only way to treat it, but it can grow back.
Glaucoma is when the optic nerve is damaged. This can increase pressure in the eye and usually leads to vision loss in both eyes. Those with a family history of the condition are also more likely to develop it.
The best way to protect your eyes from a diabetes eye disease is through managing your condition. Follow a healthy diet and talk to your doctor about your insulin injections. For more information about these and other eye conditions, check out http://allabouteyes.com.