- 01 Dec
The eye and diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic sickness in which, an excessive rate of sugar is caused in the blood-stream, a condition that may affect: eyes and vision. A blurred and troubled vision, diplopia (occasional, double vision) a peripheral loss of vision, dazzlers and floaters, may be associated to diabetes symptoms. Sometimes, the first signs of diabetes are detected during a complete eye exam, even before the patient felt the symptoms. Diabetes can modify myopia, or hyperopia. Diabetes may be the cause of cataracts and glaucoma or a defect in the coordination of ocular muscles (strabismus) and reduced corneal sensibility. However, diabetic retinopathy is the worst ocular affection, associated to diabetes.
WHAT IS DIABETIC RETINOPATHY?
Diabetic retinopathy is an affection of the retina caused by diabetes. The retina is a photosensitive membrane covering the back of the eye. It’s comparable to a film in a camera, the images that we look at, print themselves and the information is transmitted to the brain, by the optic nerve, which allows us to see. With time, diabetes ends up by modifying the retina structure. As sickness progresses, small blood vessels begin to form on the retina. They proliferate in, an abnormal and disorderly way, attempting to nourish the retina. All these modifications destroy portions of the retina and this way, prevent the formation of a complete image. These vessels can exclude liquids or start to bleed. This affection can lead to blindness if it’s not treated.
WHAT ARE THE DIABETIC RETINOPATHY SYMPTOMS?
Symptoms vary, in accordance to how the sickness occurs: progressive or all of a sudden; but whatever form of appearance, there’s no pain! In some cases, the vision gradually decreases and the patient has the impression to see black spots in his vision field. In others, if there are important hemorrhages in the back of the eye, there will be a fast decreasing of the vision. Sometimes, there are no symptom.
HOW IS DIABETIC RETINOPATHY TREATED?
In the early stages, retinopathy can be treated by “Lucentis” injections. The treatment can give back, a part of the lost eye sight and really, slow down, the progression of the sickness. The process is painless except for the uncomfortable feeling of the injection. The O.C.T. (a coherent optical tomography which gives a clear image), allows to determine if the injections are necessary and permits: to quickly treat, diabetic retinopathy.
An early diabetic retinopathy detection is essential, in order to avoid more serious stages of the sickness.
These injections prevent abnormal blood vessels to form and also provoking the death of the existing ones.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS’ FACTORS TIED TO THE APPEARANCE OF RETINOPATHY?
Uncontrolled blood sugar in the blood, constitutes the principal risk factor. There are many factors which aggravate retinopathy’s risks, among others, smoking, high blood pressure, alcohol consummation and pregnancy.
All diabetics are not necessarily suffering from diabetic retinopathy. However, people suffering from diabetes for many years, are more sensitive to have this sickness, although, it’s not an absolute rule. The seriousness of diabetes, just as difficulty to control it well, don’t necessarily determine the presence or not, of a retinopathy. This way, a light diabetes may sometimes complicate itself by a severe retinopathy, while a severe diabetes, although highly at risk, won’t always be… Also, a controlled diabetes doesn’t obligatory mean an absence of retinopathy. However, we recommend you, to control your diabetes as well as possible because, generally if it’s very well controlled, better are your chances to keep your vision.
HOW TO PREVENT TROUBLES RELATED TO DIABETES
It’s always, necessary, to repeat this: troubles related to diabetes, can be prevented. Let’s remember; by following and controlling diabetes, we will prevent life-threatening complications. Consult your doctor regularly and follow his dietary recommendations, exercise and medications. A supervised and controlled diabetes will help minimize possible complications of this sickness also including ocular problems. As soon as you get a first diabetes diagnosis, each diabetic, whatever the age, should consult, at least once a year, or more, afterwards, his optometrist or his ophthalmologist, to detect retinopathy at an early stage.Back to the articles