Diabetes can cause health problems all over your body, and that includes your eyes. If you've been diagnosed with diabetes - whether it's well-controlled or not - it's very important for you to make regular visits to an eye doctor. Read on to learn about the three diseases your eyes are more susceptible to if you have diabetes.
Cataracts are the scientific name for the clouding of the lens that sits over your eye. When this lens becomes clouded, your vision will be affected. Cataracts tend to be a problem for the elderly if you're healthy. Cataracts can happen to anyone, but diabetics are at a higher risk of developing them.
Thankfully, cataracts are very treatable. Surgery can correct the clouded part of the lens, restoring your vision to what it once was. However, it's important for you to see your eye doctor to detect cataracts early on, as cataracts can rob you of your vision without treatment.
Glaucoma is a disease that affects the nerves in your eyes, which are responsible for nearly everything your eye can do, including moving and seeing. Like cataracts, glaucoma can happen to anyone, but some estimates suggest that if you have diabetes, your risk of glaucoma is twice that of someone without diabetes.
Unlike cataracts, glaucoma cannot simply be repaired and resolved. Glaucoma is a disease that must be monitored regularly in order to prevent permanent damage to your sight. Your eye doctor will determine if you need medication to control your glaucoma or if regular eye doctor visits to monitor your disease is enough.
Lastly, retinopathy is a term that indicates a problem with the blood vessels in your eyes. Like the rest of your body, diabetes can cause a constriction or inflammation of your blood vessels. This can cause problems for your heart and arteries, but it can also cause serious damage to your eyes.
Your eyes need a constant supply of blood in order to function properly. If this flow is interrupted or reduced, blindness can occur. If you have high blood pressure or another heart problem, your risk will also increase.
Like the glaucoma, retinopathy requires constant monitoring from your eye doctor. In addition, your eye doctor will most like prescribe medication to help encourage blood flow in your eyes. They may also need to work with your general physician to prescribe you oral medication to help keep your blood vessels healthy all over your body.
Being diagnosed with diabetes is scary, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to work with your general physician to try and reverse the disease with diet and exercise. However, even if you take the best possible care of yourself, you must visit an eye doctor regularly to maintain your vision. Work with a practice like Northwest Ophthalmology to start monitoring your eye health.