Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults. Well, if we’re being specific, it is diabetic retinopathy that is claiming the sight of adults aged 20-65. But how does your blood sugar affect your eyes, you ask. To answer this, we must first discuss what exactly the “retina” is and does.
The retina is a thin, light sensitive tissue that lines the inside surface of the eye. It has nerve cells that convert light into electrical impulses which then get carried to the brain by the optic nerve and interpreted into images. Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when there is damage to the small blood vessels that nourish tissues and nerve cells.
Diabetic neuropathy has no warning signs and can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam. This means an exam where the eye gets dilated, there is acuity testing near and far, the eye pressure gets checked for glaucoma (which happens to have a higher incidence in diabetics), as well as an overall health, family, and medication review.
If you are a diabetic, make sure you are getting your annual exam. Also, make sure you are working with your practitioner to control your blood sugars. If you’re not sure where to start, please make an appointment to come down talk to one of our providers to help you get on the path to long term eye health and preservation.
-Brooke Rieth NP