Diabetes and The Eye

Diabetes is where the body has difficulty regulating blood sugar properly and often requires medication or even injected insulin. Having Diabetes for either a long time or having large fluctuations in your blood sugar can negatively affect every tissue in your body, including the eyes. Diabetic Retinopathy is damage to the retina as a result of Diabetes.

 How can Diabetes affect my eyes?

Over time the fluctuations in the blood sugar can weaken the blood vessels throughout the whole body, including the eyes. The blood vessels will begin to leak resulting in reduced oxygen to the retina. You can also get fluid and blood build up in the central part of your vision, causing reduced vision. If Diabetic Retinopathy progresses, the body will grow new and leaky blood vessels within the eye which can result in retinal detachment, reduce vision from internal bleeding and an aggressive form of glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma. Less concerning but still frustrating, large fluctuations in the blood sugar can affect the glasses/contacts prescription in some people resulting in fluctuating vision. 

What makes me more at risk of having Diabetic Retinopathy?

The greatest risk factor for Diabetic Retinopathy is how long you have had Diabetes. The other major risk factor is having poorly controlled Diabetes.

 What can be done if I have Diabetic Retinopathy?

There are several stages of Diabetic Retinopathy. Some of the mild stages require closer monitoring to ensure the disease does not progress. Other stages require medical intervention to ensure the best visual outcome. With Diabetic Retinopathy, early intervention is key which is why your eye doctor will want to see you more frequently if you have Diabetic changes in the eye.  

 You can have permanent and severe vision loss from Diabetic Retinopathy. If your eye doctor finds sight-threatening Diabetic changes, they will refer you to an ophthalmologist for injections or laser procedures to obtain the best visual outcome. 

Take home message for diabetics:

The standard of care for diabetics is a dilated eye exam every year. If Diabetic Retinopathy is detected, your eye doctor will start to follow you more closely to monitor your condition or will begin treatment.

I am diabetic but I see great, do I need a yearly dilated exam?

Yes, you can have Diabetic Retinopathy, even sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy and still see 20/20. The concern is that within a short period, you will lose vision due to Diabetic complications. Therefore, an eye care provider needs to examine the whole eye to ensure there is no Diabetic Retinopathy present.

If you enjoyed this artice on Diabetes, be sure to check our our article on High Blood Pressure In The Eye.

A Little Bit About…

A Little Bit About…

Ashley Iketani-Castillo, OD, MS

Dr. Iketani is a Florida native who has a passion for managing ocular disease. She views each patient as a whole person and believes the eyes are a window to a patient’s systemic health. She also has a passion for fitting rigid lenses on patients with corneal disease to help them obtain their best vision.

Dr. Iketani graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry where she completed internships at the Hefner Veteren’s Affairs hospital in Charlotte, NC and The Metrolina Association for the Blind which focused on Low Vision rehabilitation. Prior to pursuing optometry, she obtained a Masters of Science which focused on developmental genetics and worked as a technician in a lab that researched breast cancer.

Dr. Iketani currently resides in Cincinnati where her husband is starting his pediatrician fellowship,with their two cats and baby boy.

Disclaimer

Information contained within this Web site is intended solely for educational purposes and is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical condition or question. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition. Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies. By using this Web site, you agree to this Medical Disclaimer.

SEE Logo contact lenses

205 E Council Street, Suite B
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

Phone: (704) 310-5002
Fax: (704) 310-5003
kristin@salisburyeyecareandeyewear.com

 

205 E Council Street, Suite B
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

Phone: (704) 310-5002
Fax: (704) 310-5003
kristin@salisburyeyecareandeyewear.com

 

Hours:
Monday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Hours:
Monday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterestYouTube

 

FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterestYouTube