Skip to main content
Myeyetore logo 2
Hopewell

Adjacent to the Constitution Bank and The Peasant Grill on Broad Street

Lambertville

At the Intersection of River Rd (RT 29 & Rt 179) and Bridge Street

609-466-0055
Appointment
609-397-7020
Appointment

For 24/7 Emergency Eyecare Services call: 609-213-5008. Contact Us.

Home » News and Events » Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million.

Hopewell-Lambertville Eye Associates - Local Vision Center in Hopewell, New Jersey

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

"In 2014 alone, eye doctors found diabetes-related manifestation in 240,000 patients who were not aware they had diabetes, leading to a prompt diagnosis and care, which minimizes the risk of complications," says AOA President Andrea P. Thau, O.D.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring.

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy.

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness.

Local eye care, eye doctors in Hopewell, New Jersey

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages.

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids.

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes.

If you or a family member suffer from Diabetes, a consultation with one of our Eye Doctors, could be the next step to improving health and quality of life

Call Hopewell-Lambertville Eye Associates on 609-466-0055 in Hopewell, NJ to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist.

FOLLOW US

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Nutritional Eye Care

 

Eye Care / Vision care is your first step towards preventative and long-term health care. Eye health and vision evaluations are one of the most important aspects of an individual’s annual health care. It is the job of our doctors and staff to work as an integral part of your medical team to assure your well being.

A Guide to Dealing with the Effects of Eye Allergies

If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes you may be suffering from seasonal eye allergies. For some, spring time is eye allergy time, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Spring eye allergies are largely due to the release...

6 Things You Should Know about UV Radiation and Your Eyes

The heat of long summer days is nearly upon us. As the sun's rays intensify and people spend more time outdoors in the sunshine it is very important to be aware of the potential damage exposure to the sun can have on your eyes. May is UV Awareness month. Here...

What’s Worse For Your Vision: High Myopia (Nearsightedness) or Smoking?

Though many wouldn’t place “smoking” and “myopia” in the same sentence, the harmful effects they have on vision are comparable, as children with rapidly progressing myopia have a similar risk of developing eye disease later in life as smokers do.

Call Our Locations

Call Lambertville 609-451-3992

Call Hopewell 609-288-2090

x

As of June 8 th, 2020: Hopewell – Lambertville Eye will re-open for patient care. Please read the COVID-19 Safety protocols:   Read Our Office Policies…

Contact us at: hopewelleye@kennethdaniels.net   Call for Emergency: 609 – 213 – 5008

Please complete patient registration form and COVID questionnaire or (Espanol) Patiente – COVID prior to your appointment

For appointment requests: https://www.seelife.net/contact-us/appointment-request-page/

Please Avoid Coming to the office for contact lens orders and eyecare products: Go to our Online Store at: https://seelife.myeyestore.com/                                                       or Go to Order Contacts: https://www.seelife.net/contact-us/order-contact-lenses-online-2/