When a person suffers from diabetes, they will face a number of serious health problems that stem from increased blood sugar. Among them is loss of vision. It's been found that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people between the ages of 20 and 74. In order to maintain optimal vision, it's important to meet with eye care experts. An optometrist can provide you with information on all of your eye care options, addressing diabetes-related conditions and other matters as well.
Why does diabetes lead to vision problems?
When a person has diabetes, there are numerous changes that affect the eyes, including the lens and the blood vessels that are in the area of the retina. Changes to the proper or optimal function of these structures will have an adverse affect on the overall quality of your vision.
Glaucoma and Diabetes
Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure inside of the eye damages nerves, blood vessels, and other ocular structures. When a person has diabetes, he or she is 40% more likely to suffer from glaucoma. The risks of developing glaucoma increase with age as well as with the amount of time a person has suffered from diabetes.
Cataracts and Diabetes
Cataracts are the clouding of the clear lens of the eye, causing a person's vision to become increasingly hazy or blurry. When a person has diabetes, he or she is 60% more likely to suffer from cataracts. Cataracts also become more likely with advanced age.
The term “diabetic retinopathy” is a kind of catch-all for all kinds of problems affecting the retina that are linked to diabetes. These include:
- Nonproliferative Retinopathy - This refers to the swelling and blockage of blood vessels and capillaries in the retina
- Proliferative Retinopathy - If blood vessels are so blocked and damaged by nonproliferative retinopathy, new blood vessels will grow and scar tissue will form; the new blood vessels can leak blood and fluid and the scar tissue can cause tears in the retina
- Macular Edema - This refers to the leakage of blood and other fluids onto the macula, the central part of the retina
Treatment Options for Diabetic Eye Conditions
Speaking with diabetic eye care specialists is crucial for getting the treatment you need, regardless what eye condition it may be. Your eye care specialist will customize the treatment to your needs to ensure that you receive the best possible eye care.
- When it comes to glaucoma, there are numerous treatments that can be performed in order to reduce the pressure within the eye, including surgery, medication, drainage techniques, and replacement of the vitreous gel.
- With cataracts, the treatment will involve the removal of the clouded lens of the eye and its replacement with a clear artificial lens.
- For diabetic retinopathy, it depends on the condition the patient suffers from. One common treatment that often works well is known as photocoagulation. This is a laser surgery that helps seal blood vessels in the retina and prevent bleeding.
Learn More About Advanced Eye Care Treatments
If you would like to learn more about all of your options for treating diabetes-related eye conditions, it's important that you contact our Salt Lake City, Utah eye care specialists today. The entire team here looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you make wise choices with regard to your overall eye health.