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Complications: Your eyes, the windows to the soul


Your eyes: black, brown, hazel, blue, green and everything in between. We are so dependent on this sense for much of our lives; it is sometimes hard to even imagine not having it in some way. This makes it all the more important to take care of them.{{more}}

Many of you are well aware of the diabetic complications of eye disease in terms of it “causing blindness.” This is, of course, one of the worst situations, and everyone wants to avoid this if they can. But there are many in between stages and other eye problems that should be avoided as well. Let’s start from the mildest to the most serious:

INCREASED INFECTIONS: Overall, this happens to almost every part of the body in diabetes, including the eyes. You are more prone to develop eye infections (within the eye itself as well as along the eyelids) when your diabetes is out of control. In addition, it is often more difficult to get the infection cured, so the best option is to avoid it in the first place. Two steps here: keep your sugars under control, and minimize handling or trauma to the eyes. Don’t play with your eyelids. Basic rule: anything that touches your eyes should be clean. If you use eye makeup, make sure the brushes are clean and the makeup isn’t 20 years old and moldy. Do not use make-up brushes that belong to someone else. If you wear contact lenses, be sure to keep them clean but throw them away if they are torn. Run away if someone near to you has pink eye. And run fast.

If you do develop any infection of the eyes or eyelid, please see your doctor as soon as possible to have it examined and treated.

CATARACTS: Cataracts are quite common and increased in people who have diabetes. While they do not cause damage to the eye itself, they definitely affect your vision. They are caused by gradual cloudiness of a part of the eye called the lens. If you find yourself trying to wink to get something out of your eye, or glancing to the side to get a better look at something, it may be cataracts so call your eye doctor soon.

GLAUCOMA: This is commonly referred to as “pressure in the eye” and is 40% more likely to occur in people with diabetes. How does it do damage? When the pressure builds up in your eyes it can cause the blood vessels there to become constricted (smaller) under that pressure, so the cells do not receive the nutrients and oxygen they need. The result? Damage to the cells of your eyes and loss of vision. Again, control of those blood sugars is the key!!!

DIABETIC RETINOPATHY: A long name for another bad condition. The retina is a layer of cells in the back of your eye which are responsible for detecting light and color. To keep these cells healthy, your diabetes needs to be kept under good control. There are various levels of severity of this condition, with the worst causing blindness if not treated. Currently, laser therapy is the mainstay of treatment and needs to be done by an eye specialist. The best way to avoid this? You know it: KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGARS CONTROLLED!!!

Until next week, stay safe and healthy, Vincies :).

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227