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What to Know about Diabetes and Your Eyes

Each November is dedicated to educating the public at large about diabetes, which is a condition that affects more than 29 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Eye examWhat is Diabetes?

Diabetes is the body’s inability to process food for use as energy properly. Much of the food we consume is turned into glucose (sugar), which we use for energy. Insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas) helps transport the glucose into the body’s cells. Those with diabetes, have difficulty producing enough insulin   or using insulin properly, causing sugars to build up in the body.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, is typically diagnosed in children and young adults. In this type, the body does not produce insulin, which is necessary to transport sugars the body breaks down into the bloodstream. Only about five percent of those with diabetes are affected by Type 1.

Type 2

The most common form of diabetes, Type 2 causes glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. Those with Type 2 diabetes do not utilize insulin properly.

Gestational Diabetes

At times, pregnant women who have never had diabetes can develop it while pregnant, causing their blood sugar levels to rise.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Various eye conditions are more prevalent in those with diabetes – glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. During a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist checks for signs and symptoms of these conditions.  Often, eye conditions that commonly occur in diabetics have no early symptoms.  Left untreated, they may lead to severe vision loss or blindness. Therefore, it is important for diabetic individuals and those at risk for diabetes to have a comprehensive dilated eye examination at least once a year.  Early detection, treatment and active follow-up care are key aspects in preventing blindness as a result of diabetic eye disease. 

If you or a loved one suffers from diabetes, The Eye Institute provides specialized treatment plans based upon your individual needs.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.