November marks the beginning of National Diabetes Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Month. These health awareness designations are intended to encourage individuals to become informed of their own health risks and the potential consequences of poorly controlled diabetes. In recognition of these designations, take the time to check the date of the last comprehensive eye exam you had at an optical center in Chicago . If it’s been more than one year, it’s time for another visit with your ophthalmologist.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to life-altering and life-threatening complications, including eye health problems. Diabetes occurs when the body can no longer make enough insulin or use insulin properly, which results in high blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause all sorts of damage to the body, including to the optic nerve and the tiny blood vessels in the eyes. Unfortunately, many people have diabetes or prediabetes without realizing it. In addition to making regular appointments with an ophthalmologist, consider talking to your family physician about blood glucose screenings.
Practicing good eye care habits is important, but so too is controlling blood glucose levels carefully. Uncontrolled diabetes greatly increases the risk of diabetic retinopathy, which causes the blood vessels in the eyes to swell, leak blood and other fluids, and close off entirely. Abnormal new blood vessels can also form; these do not work properly and they may be accompanied by scar tissue development. If you experience blurry vision or floaters, see your eye doctor promptly.
The lens of a healthy eye focuses light on the retina, which allows for clear vision. If the lens becomes cloudy, it cannot focus light properly and so vision becomes distorted. A cloudy area of the lens is called a cataract. Diabetes increases the risk of cataract development because high blood sugar levels can result in undesirable changes to the lens.
Glaucoma is a collection of eye diseases that are strongly associated with increased intraocular pressure, or pressure within the eye. These diseases develop as damage is inflicted on the optical nerve. The longer a person lives with diabetes, the higher the risk is of developing glaucoma.