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Monday, October 29, 2012

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes can play havoc with your eyes, and sometimes there are no early symptoms. So you may have no idea anything is wrong until your eyesight is in danger. Here are the main eye problems that can be caused, or made worse, by diabetes.

  1. Cataracts: These are often described as a clouding of the lens of the eye. They are treatable by surgery in most cases.
  2. Glaucoma: Our eyes are largely made up of fluid, and when the pressure of that fluid builds up too much inside the eye, you have glaucoma. Left untreated, it can damage the optic nerves, and even lead to blindness.
  3. Diabetic retinopathy: Lining the back of our eyes is light-sensitive tissue known as the retina. The retina contains very small blood vessels that can be damaged by diabetic retinopathy. Sometimes there are symptoms such as blurred vision, but often you won't even know anything is wrong until the condition is well advanced. In the worst case, it leads to blindness.

Early detection is the key to battling all of these conditions, and the best diagnostic tool available is the dilated eye examination. This is a test in which special eye drops temporarily enlarge your pupils, allowing the doctor to see the back of your eyes. This test (which is painless) can detect cataracts, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy in their early, treatable stages.

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Eyesight is precious, so if you have diabetes does yourself a favor and makes an appointment for your dilated eye examination. And then do it again every year from now on.


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