Diabetes and Your Eyes

Dr Eric Drake

It’s never easy to tell a patient bad news about their eyes. One of the more frequent discussions is bleeding on the retina. While there are other reasons bleeding could occur, the most common is from uncontrolled blood sugars. Frequently, the person didn’t even know they were diabetic until their eye exam.

Nowadays, we hear a lot about diabetes and for good reasons. It has become an epidemic in the U.S. affecting around 10% of the population. The numbers continue to rise in dramatic fashion and our local community is not immune to these trends. Most people with diabetes (90-95%) have Type 2 Diabetes. This can be caused by several factors such as obesity, lack of exercise or proper nutrition, and a family history of diabetes.

Chronic elevation of glucose sugar levels in the blood damages our blood vessels over time. Our eyes have the richest blood capillary networks in our bodies, followed by our kidneys, hands and feet. This is why the most common complications include retinopathy (bleeding in the back of the eye), kidney problems, and neuropathy of hands or feet.

Diabetic Retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S. and approximately one-third of people with diabetes have retinopathy. Oftentimes, a person with diabetes will have no symptoms that retinopathy is occurring in the eye. This is why it’s critical that everyone with diabetes get their eyes examined once a year or more if recommended by your eye doctor. Early detection of these complications could preserve vision that may otherwise be permanently damaged. Other eye complications associated with diabetes include cataracts, blurred vision, glaucoma, and strokes within the eye.

If you are concerned that you may have diabetes, have a family history of diabetes, or if you are diabetic and have not had your eyes examined in the last 12 months, make sure to call your primary care physician and your eye doctor today. It could possibly save your life. SouthWest Vision, located at 965 E 700 S, St George Utah. Call us at 435-673-5577 or visit our website at www.SouthWestVision.com