Diabetes and the eyes

Diabetes and the eyes

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Managing health can be a tedious task for people with diabetes.

Everything from blood sugar to cholesterol require additional monitoring for those with the disease, but one organ needs special attention: the eyes.

People with diabetes are at a higher risk for issues in the eye than those without the disease.

“It’s not just one of those things that’s theoretical,” said Ophthalmologist Margaret Carter. “A lot of people will have problems with diabetic eye [and] diabetes if they have it for many years and it’s uncontrolled.”

Diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy are two conditions that occur. So, optometrists suggest people with Type 1 diabetes have their eyes checked every three to five years.

If you’re a Type 2 diabetic, they recommend you have your eyes checked every six months to a year, unless complications arise.

"A full eye exam, vision, eye pressure; look at the front part of the eye, look at the cataract formation, then we dilate. That’s the most important part of the exam—is to make sure they get a dilated exam. Look in the back of the eye, all the structures back there, blood vessels—make sure they’re not bleeding or leaking,” Dr. Carter said.

Closing one eye and looking for blurred vision is one sign something isn’t right. It’s not always something you can feel.

“Blood vessels back there are very small. They’re like the blood vessels in the kidneys and those are the first to be affected by diabetes,” Carter said.

People with diabetes can have cataracts come on faster and secondary glaucoma, so monitoring the eyes is essential to overall health.

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