Eyes are by far the most important sense organ. Hence for humans “seeing is believing”. We confirm everything only if we see it. And Diabetes can affect many aspects of the EYE. Eye is made up of a cornea through which light enters. Light passes through the lens and then falls on the retina.
Uncontrolled diabetes causes retina to not get enough glucose for utilization and hence damage to the retina. This damage is called retinopathy. Retinopathy can be mild, moderate or severe. Severe Diabetic Retinopathy can cause permanent blindness. In fact DIABETES related blindness is the most common cause of blindness in India and also the world.
Diabetes can affect the eyes in many ways. It can cause premature cataracts. Cataract occurs with age. In diabetes especially those not properly controlled, cataract can occur in much earlier. Cataract causes progressively decrease in vision. And later blindness. Immature cataract care not operated (although with new techniques they may be operated upon). Immature cataracts or partly hazy lens later becomes fully opaque and forms “mature” cataract. Mature cataracts are operated upon and removed.
Uncontrolled diabetes leads to increase chances of infection anywhere in the body. Similarly it can cause eye infections like stye, conjunctivitis, endopthalmitis etc. chances of herpes opthalmicus increases in uncontrolled diabetes resulting in damage to eyesight.
DIABETIC RETINOPATHY is diagnosed with help of a fundoscopic examination. This is done in a clinic setup. It causes blurring of vision, haziness, dark spots in vision and later near total blindness. Good control of blood sugar is essential. Later laser photocoagulation needs to be done to prevent progression of diabetic retinopathy.
DIABETIC MACULAR EDEMA and GLAUCOMA are other complications of DIABETES.
All these complications occur after many years of poor or partly controlled diabetes. Hence it is important to understand these and take appropriate medical therapy for its prevention. DIABETIC DIET, EXERCISE and medications as prescribed by your doctor will help keep blood sugars normal. Regular monitoring of blood sugars is also vital. Besides YEARLY EYE EXAMINATION and FUNDOSCOPIC examination to rule out early evidence of DIABETIC RETINOPATHY is important. It is easier to treat and prevent progression of early diabetic retinopathy.
Hence consult your doctor if you are a diabetic as to the need of EYE examination
DR JACOB THOMAS.