Diabetes is a disease that affects people of all kinds. Diabetes is found in both men and women of all races and age groups. Diabetes, even when well controlled, can cause damage to many critical body systems. There are many ways that diabetes can be detected and diagnosed in the human body.
Most often, the areas that the damaging effects of diabetes are first seen are the end organs. End organs are major organs that are fed by the body’s circulatory system of vessels and veins. One of these end organ groups are the eyes. The eyes are the only end organ that can be viewed frequently and easily. Viewing can be accomplished by a dilated eye examination. By having a dilated eye examination, your doctor will be able to more closely monitor how your diabetes is affecting your eyes as well as other parts of the body.
When blood sugars are not under proper control, a diabetic may notice shifts in his or her vision. Vision may seem different each day, even many times a day as the blood sugar level is allowed to fluctuate erratically. High blood sugar causes the crystalline lens inside of the eye to swell. This crystalline lens is vital to visual accommodation, and when it is swollen, it is unable to accommodate for clear vision. While the blood sugar is out of control, a person’s prescription eyewear may not feel sufficient at times. If a person does not normally require corrective eyewear, when the blood sugar is high, he or she may feel like correction is needed at times.
Vision cannot be properly corrected until the blood sugar becomes stabilized for an extended period of time, sometimes as long as three months. Normal blood sugars generally range between 90-130 mg/dL before meals, and over 180 mg/dL after meals have been eaten. Your eye care professional will be able to counsel with you as to what your best options are for vision correction during your prescription stabilization period.
Leading cause of blindness in young people
If you have diabetes, it is very important that you closely monitor and control the level of your blood glucose or blood sugar. Having a blood sugar level that regularly runs high will increase your risk of experiencing diabetic eye problems of all kinds. In fact, diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in adults age twenty to seventy-four.
One of the most common ocular side effects of diabetes is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy has a damaging effect on the tiny vessels on the inside of the eye, and leading to the eye. One of the side effects of diabetic retinopathy are micro aneurysms, or areas of the vessel that become weak, and can rupture. If these vessels rupture, it can cause blind spots in the vision and even blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is now the number one cause of incurable blindness in modern, industrialized nations.
The longer you have had a diagnosis of diabetes, the higher your chances are of developing retinopathy. There are three major kinds of retinopathy: background retinopathy, which damages vessels but has no vision problems associated with it; proliferative retinopathy, in which weak new vessels begin to grow in the back of the eye. They are not supposed to be there, and are very susceptible to rupture because they are extremely weak; and maculopathy, which damages the macula, an area of the eye critical for sight.
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy may require laser procedures or laser surgery to repair the damaged vessels of the eye. More than one treatment may be necessary over time. It is important to have treatment if it is recommended to you by your eye care professional. When diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, it will in most cases get worse, and eventually lead to blindness.