Your Eyesight and Diabetes
Diabetes can affect each and every part of your body and each and every organ. It is important to know just what to look out for and how to prevent other medical conditions, and this includes keeping a close watch on your eyesight. Those that are diabetic are at a higher risk for conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and retinal disease. Retinal disease is when there is damage to the layers in the back if the eyes that are sensitive to light and make it so that we can see. This happens most often in those that do not control and maintain their diabetes, need to take insulin, or have been diabetic for a long period of time.
There is also diabetic retinopathy, and there are different types of this condition. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is damage to the blood vessels that feed the retina, which, of course, is the part of the eye that actually sees. There is a higher risk for a diabetic patient to be diagnosed with this disease the longer that they have had diabetes. It is possible that a patient may not know that they have diabetic retinopathy until the symptoms become severe.
There are two different forms of retinopathy, and they are maculopathy and proliferative retinopathy. Maculopathy happens with the small blood vessels around the macula are blocked. Fluid begins to build up due to leakage from other blood vessels, and this brings on loss of eyesight from swelling.
Proliferative retinopathy is when there is an abnormal growth of blood vessels in places they do not belong, such as on the retina. These vessels tend to bleed, or leak, and vision gets blocked due to that. Furthermore, when they start to heal, they form scar tissue and they actually pull the retina tight in those places, which can separate the retina from the back of the eye. The end result is loss of vision, which cannot be restored.
The diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy is done by either a camera that takes pictures of the back of the eye (not recommended) or by dilating the pupils with drops so the doctor can take a good look at the whole retina with a special light. Those that have diabetes should have their vision checked at least every two years, and if there are concerns with vision, the checkups should become more frequent. Early detection is the best medicine in order to treat retinopathy. Laser treatment is an excellent recommendation, but it is important to remember that if vision is already lost you cannot restore it.
Taking care of other medical issues and concerns can help to reduce your risk of the disease. Eating properly and not smoking are two of the most important things that you can do. For those that are on any type of insulin, it is important to increase your checkups to at least once a year, but you can go every two of you are not taking insulin. The right steps are great prevention.
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