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Those with diabetes have a special need to protect their vision

By Judith Whitehead - Contributing Writer

If you have diabetes – Type 1-insulin dependent or Type 2-non-insulin dependent – you may be at risk for eye disease.

It is imperative that those with diabetes get a dilated eye exam every year to check for eye health as well as overall health.

The eyes are the only place in the body that circulation can be viewed without doing an invasive procedure. Dilation “paralyzes” the focusing ability of the eye and therefore freezes the pupil open for a few hours. By doing simple dilation of the pupil, an eye doctor can view the retina and circulation. If the doctor suspects retinal damage or sees findings of diabetic degeneration, a simple angiogram can be done in an office setting to get even more details  as to what is happening in the back of the eye.

Uncontrolled diabetes can endanger vision, Judith Whitehead says.

Elevated blood sugars can cause damage to eyesight that is not always reversible. At times, a special laser beam procedure can be done at an ophthalmologist’s office that can stop the damage and seal blood vessels that are leaking in the retina. It is a fairly quick procedure that leaves the vision blurry for a few hours. If the eye doctor finds damage in the retina, chances are the rest of the body may be at risk for damage as well.

People with diabetics need to take care of their health to maintain good eyesight. If diabetes is not controlled, it can cause havoc with the rest of the body as well. Good circulation is needed for a healthy body.

Maintain good eye health by performing a few simple tasks: See your doctor regularly; get blood work done every three to four months to get an overall picture of the blood sugar control, call a hemoglobin A1C test; be mindful of your diet; get regular exercise; and use your medications as directed.

Take care of your eyes. You only get one set.

Judith Whitehead, of East Amherst, is a certified ophthalmic technician.



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