In India, diabetes is spreading like an epidemic. More than 651 million people are struggling with this condition which is not even sparing children and young working adults. In 2015, almost 415 million adults were living with diabetes and the number is predicted to escalate to 642 million by 2040 (International Diabetes Federation). Diabetes not only affects the overall health of the body but is a deadly threat to the eyesight.
Lack of awareness, delayed diagnosis, improper diabetic management and opting home remedies instead of medical treatment often leads to eye problems related to diabetes, says Dr.Sridevi Haldar from Itek Vision Centre. This World Diabetes Day, let’s take a pledge to take care of your vision. Read on to know more about the effect of diabetes on your eyes.
Diabetes- The Silent ‘Eyesight’ Killer
Very few people are aware of the fact that diabetes can cause vision loss or even complete blindness. Various conditions like Diabetic Retinopathy (DR), Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma etc. are caused by diabetes! It is not necessary that every diabetic person may have these eye conditions but almost all of these conditions can cause complete vision loss.
How Diabetes Affect Eyes—An Eye-Opener
- You May Develop Diabetic Retinopathy (DR): It is the most common condition caused due to diabetes that affects the eye and is considered as the main cause of blindness amongst working adults. The problem leads to changes in the retinal blood vessels causing bleeding, leakage of fluid and distorted vision. This condition generally goes unnoticed until vision loss starts. DR is most common among adults aged between 20–74 years. DR can be of three different types-
-Background Diabetic Retinopathy: Although, this doesn’t affect your eyes but you need to pay special attention by conducting regular eye check-ups.
–Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: Bleeding in the blood vessels of the area around retina can affect your vision.
-Diabetic Maculopathy: This may lead to a blurred central vision which is required for seeing fine details.
2.Diabetic Person is Highly Susceptible to Diabetic Macular Edema (DME): DME is a condition followed by Diabetic Retinopathy. If DM is untreated, it may develop pressure on the eye which causes swelling in the macula, inside the retina. DME is characterized by blurred vision, floaters, double vision; it might lead to complete blindness. Generally, there are two types of DME-
- Focal DME: Due to abnormalities in the blood vessel.
- Diffuse DME: It is caused due to swelling of the retinal capillaries.
3.Beware of Cataract: Cataract may appear in early age among people suffering from diabetes. Characterized by the clouding of the eye lens, cataract is mainly caused due to increased glucose levels in the lens causing swelling. Diabetic person can suffer from-
- Subcapsular Cataract: The condition originates at the back of the lens.
-Nuclear Cataract: It is related to aging and originate in the nucleus (center part) of the lens.
– Cortical Cataract: Starting from the periphery, cortical cataract affects the central part of the Lens.
4.You are vulnerable to Glaucoma: The condition affects the optic nerve that transmits images to the brain, glaucoma is generally caused due to the pressure inside the eye. In severe cases, it might lead to a complete loss of vision. Blurred vision, eye pain, headaches, nausea, the appearance of rainbow colored circles in bright light are certain symptoms of glaucoma which should not be neglected.
Simple Tips To Control Vision Loss Due To Diabetes
Early detection, timely intervention and regular follow-up can delay the vision loss among people with diabetes.
- Control your blood glucose level and regularly take prescribed medications
- Maintain a physically active life and try to control your blood pressure
- A healthy diet can definitely delay vision related issues in diabetes
- Go for a complete eye check-up, preferably comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year
- Maintain an ideal body weight
With World Diabetic Day round the corner, let’s make a resolution to take good care of your health and don’t let diabetes trigger your vision loss.