Diabetes Mellitus is the medical condition characterized by abnormal metabolism of blood glucose, a form of sugar in the bloodstream. Long term high levels of blood glucose will damage blood vessels and nerves throughout the body. The eye can be affected in various ways by Diabetes. In the course of Diabetes, people may notice fluctuations in their vision. The crystalline lens in the eye can swell with sugars causing temporary changes in eyeglass measurements. Recurring swelling of the lens can lead to opacity of this lens, called cataract, leading to blurred vision and glare. Certain kinds of glaucoma and corneal disorders can also be associated with Diabetes. Refraction measurement for glasses, intraocular pressure and microscopic exam by your physician during your comprehensive examination can uncover these things. We do sometimes discover Diabetes during eye exams in patients who don't know they have it.
Over a period of years, blood vessels in the retina can be damaged by high blood glucose. This is called Diabetic Retinopathy. The retina is the critical nerve tissue along the rear inside wall of the eye. It functions like film in a camera, converting a focused image into nerve signals for the brain to understand. It is a very important structure for vision and it receives a massive amount of blood flow, considering its very small size. Not surprisingly, damage to these retina surface blood vessels can have devastating consequences vision. With Diabetes, blood vessel walls become weakened and leaky. This leads to swelling of the retina, scattered areas of bleeding where vessels burst and overall reduced blood flow. New blood vessels which are even leakier tend to break easily grow throughout and can do severe damage to eye structures. Untreated this can lead to loss of useful vision or blindness.
Fortunately, early treatment can be quite successful at slowing or stopping these processes. At Doctors Eye Institute, we recommend yearly comprehensive examinations with dilated retina examination in all patients with Diabetes. Laser procedures and medicine injections, retina surgery, cataract procedures and glaucoma treatments can all be employed to help patients with Diabetes. Early intervention is important, often before there are any noticeable symptoms, for patients with Diabetic Retinopathy. We work with your primary doctor, Diabetes specialists, educators and ocular sub specialists to obtain the most current management options. In Louisville, the first step is to schedule your appointment for a comprehensive eye exam at Doctors Eye Institute.