Glaucoma and Diabetes: Can Diabetes Affect Your Eyes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects 30.3 million Americans. This complex condition results from the body’s inability to produce insulin. It is the hormone responsible for allowing sugar from your blood to enter the cells, thus providing you with the energy to function. However, some people don’t make enough or even any insulin or don’t use insulin well. As a result, glucose stays in their blood and fails to reach the cells. Over time, diabetes can lead to too much glucose in the blood. This excessive buildup of blood sugar can increase the patient’s risk of severe health complications, such as heart disease and stroke.


Can Diabetes Affect Your Eyes?

Yes. High blood sugar can lead to many different eye problems. These include blurry vision, cataracts, retinopathy, and glaucoma. As a matter of fact, diabetes is considered as the leading cause of blindness in people aged 20 to 74.


One of the common complications of diabetes is diabetic eye disease. It refers to a group of sight-threatening problems that people suffering from diabetes may develop. As mentioned, glaucoma is one of these eye diseases. It can come in several forms and develop when pressure builds up inside your eye. This abnormally high pressure can have a severe impact on your optic nerve. If the damage on your nerves and blood vessels gets worse, glaucoma can result in permanent blindness or total loss of vision within just a few years.


How Is Glaucoma Linked With Diabetes?

The relationship between the most common type of glaucoma, known as open-angle glaucoma, and diabetes, has interested researchers for many years. Not all diabetic patients develop glaucoma. However, people with diabetes have been discovered to develop glaucoma twice as likely than non-diabetics.

Likewise, a person with open-angle glaucoma is more at risk of developing diabetes than someone without the eye problem. Even a rare type of glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma is associated with diabetes.


What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

Unfortunately, there are no warning signs in the early stages of open-angle glaucoma. More often than not, people with this eye disease will not notice any change in their vision until the optic nerve damage is already severe. As this type of glaucoma progresses, you might develop patchy blind spots in your side or central vision. Additionally, tunnel vision or the inability to see from around the edges of your eyesight can occur during the advanced stages.


How Is Glaucoma Treated?

Prescription eye drops and oral medications are among the initial recommendations to treat open-angle glaucoma. They diminish pressure buildup in your eye, either by improving how fluid drains or by reducing the amount of fluid your eye makes. Other treatment options include laser therapy, filtering surgery, drainage tubes, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery.


Vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible, even with surgery. The key is early detection. You must visit your eye doctor and have a glaucoma test at least once a year, especially if you have diabetes. Once diagnosed with glaucoma, your doctor will discuss possible treatment to slow down its progress and save your eyesight.


Do you need to schedule your annual dilated eye exam? Visit Primary Eye Care in Tupelo, Mississippi, today. Call us at (662) 200-9842 to book an appointment.

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