Columnists

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Issue 47.16

It’s never fun to look into a person’s eye and see bleeding occurring and then having to break the bad news to them.  While there are other reasons this bleeding could occur, the most common is due to uncontrolled blood sugars.  Often times the person didn’t even know they had it until their eye exam.

Nowadays, there is a lot of buzz surrounding diabetes and for a good reason.  It has become an epidemic here in the U.S. with around 10% of the population being affected.  The numbers continue to rise in a dramatic fashion and our local community is not immune to these trends either.  Most persons with diabetes (90-95%) have Type 2 Diabetes.  This can be caused by several environmental factors such as obesity, lack of exercise or proper nutrition, and a family history of diabetes also puts you at higher risk.

Chronic elevation of glucose sugar levels in the blood damages our blood vessels over time.  Our eyes have the richest blood capillary networks in our bodies, followed by our kidneys, hands and feet.  This is why the most common complications include retinopathy (bleeding in the back of the eye), kidney problems, and neuropathy of hands or feet.

Diabetic Retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S. and approximately one-third of persons with diabetes have retinopathy.  Oftentimes, a person with diabetes will have no symptoms that retinopathy is occurring in the eye.  This is why it is critical that everyone with diabetes needs to get their eyes examined at least once a year, or more if recommended by your eye doctor.   Early detection of these complications could preserve your vision that may otherwise be permanently damaged.  Other eye complications associated with diabetes include early cataract, blurred vision, glaucoma, and strokes within the eye.

If you are concerned that you may have diabetes, you have a family history of diabetes, or if you are diabetic and have not had your eyes examined in the last 12 months, make sure to call your primary care physician and your eye doctor today.  It could possibly save your life.

Dr. Drake can be contacted at SouthWest Vision 435- 414-1616.

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