Study Suggests Eye Problems from Diabetes are not Given Proper Attention
People with diabetes have many things to worry about. Potential complications if they do not get proper treatment, muscle problems, heart disease, stroke, and many other problems complicate their lives. Another major cause for concern is the potential to lose their eyesight. The most common cause of this is diabetic retinopathy. Retinopathy is essentially damage to the retina, part of the eye responsible for much of a person’s vision. Diabetic retinopathy is any form of retinopathy caused by some complication associated with diabetes. One of the most common forms of diabetic retinopathy is diabetic macular edema.
Diabetic macular edema involves the swelling of the victim’s retina. This will initially cause blurring of vision, eventually leading to full loss of vision. The problem is exacerbated by high blood pressure, which is also a major problem for those with diabetes. It can also be complicated by kidney disease, or even kidney failure.
There are two forms of diabetic macular edema, focal and diffuse. The main difference between the two is that the former involves micro aneurysms around the retina, while the latter involves the capillaries in the retina. By knowing which type of diabetic macular edema one has, it can more easily be determined which type of laser surgery is most applicable.
Focal laser treatment is used for focal diabetic macular edema, whereas grid laser treatment is for diffuse diabetic macular edema. The treatment is monitored over the course of several months, with repeated treatments if necessary. However, the surgery does not repair vision. It simply prevents the patient’s vision from getting worse.
However, despite this serious issue for individuals with diabetes, a study conducted in Ireland determined that many people do not realize that eye problems are an issue, do not know about the various forms of eye problems, or do not do anything to prevent themselves from suffering due to these eye problems. The researchers suggest that a change in mindset will have to occur if diabetics wish to prevent the many problems they are faced with, particularly diabetic retinopathy.
The study determined that only 42 percent of diabetics were worried about eye problems associated with having diabetes. Additionally, 75 percent of them had no idea what diabetic macular edema was, nor that it is a very common problem among diabetics, affecting as many as 10 percent of them. Even despite the fact that slightly less than half of those with diabetes were worried about eye problems, a fourth of diabetics do not have their eyes tested annually. Unfortunately, for this portion of diabetics, the victim cannot detect diabetic retinopathy within the first few stages of the eye problem, instead requiring observation by experts with the right equipment for the job.