Diabetes is a complicated disease and affects all sorts of functions within the body.  From foot problems to damaged blood vessels to cataracts and glaucoma in the eyes. The eyes are a powerful and obviously an incredibly important organ in your body, so it is important to have regular eye exams when you have diabetes. Read on to learn more about what problems can occur in the eyes that are caused by diabetes. At Vision Care Centre in Langley, we want to give you the best eye care possible, and that includes detecting eye problems related to diabetes.

eye care

Diabetic Retinopathy

This eye condition affects the blood vessels in the retina, which is a light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. This is the most common eye disease that impairs vision and can cause cancer in people who have diabetes. The biggest symptom of diabetes is high blood sugar and this is known to damage tiny blood vessels located in the retina, which leads to diabetic retinopathy. Sending signals through the optic nerve to the brain, the retina detects light and converts it to these signals. With diabetic retinopathy, these blood vessels can leak fluid or hemorrhage, which causes distorted vision. This disease progresses by the blood vessels becoming more and more damaged. First losing the ability to transport blood, then new blood vessels grow, but are weak, thin, and have a high chance of leaking. Scar tissue eventually forms causing the retina to become detached which can cause permanent vision loss. People with diabetes type one and two are at risk for diabetic retinopathy, but the longer one has diabetes, there is a higher risk of developing this disease.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

At first, there usually are no noticeable symptoms, the disease will progress in the background. Eventually, a patient will notice “floating” spots in their vision but could clear up on their own. When bleeding from blood vessels occur, which happens when treatment is not sought right away, vision will become blurred.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

This condition is caused by diabetic retinopathy, it is when swelling occurs in an area of the retina called the macula. Detection of DME can be done with a detailed eye exam that will show signs of damaged blood vessels, swelling, or fatty deposits that develop on the retina.

Cataracts and Glaucoma

Other conditions that occur with people who have diabetes are cataracts and glaucoma. A cataract is when a clouding of the eye’s lens occurs. This can usually happen in people with diabetes when they are younger. With glaucoma, a bundle of nerve fibers that connect the eye to the brain is damaged. This is due to higher pressure within the eye and for people with diabetes, the risk of developing this condition is doubled.

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Prevention and Treatment

Because diabetic retinopathy often doesn’t have early symptoms, the best way to prevent this condition is to have regular eye exams. If detected early enough, it can reduce chances of losing vision by 95 percent. Women who become pregnant and also have diabetes should have an eye exam right away. Studies have shown that controlled diabetes will slow the developing of eye conditions. DME and diabetic retinopathy can be treated by injection therapy that will help reverse the growth of weak blood vessels. Another method of treatment is macular laser surgery, which is when the laser burns the blood vessel in order to slow the leaking fluid and reduce swelling.

Research is continuing to look for a way to treat and prevent diabetic eye conditions, but early detection is by far the best way to prevent these diseases from occurring. At your local eye clinic in Langley, you can receive an eye exam in order to find signs of these conditions developing. If you have diabetes, having a detailed eye exam which includes a visual acuity test, a tonometry test which measures the pressure inside your eye, pupil dilation, and optical coherence tomography, which is similar to an ultrasound. At Vision Care Centre, our optometrists are fully aware of all eye conditions related to diabetes and want to give you the best eye care in the surrounding Langley area. Contact us today for your yearly eye exam.