About Diabetic Eye Problems

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Monday, November 2, 2015

About Diabetic Eye Problems

Diabetes & Diabetic Eye Disease Are on the Rise
Diabetes and diabetic eye problems are on the rise-especially within our senior population. According to the Centers for Disease Control diabetes affects more than 26 million people or over 8% of the U.S. population-a number that is growing annually with no end in sight. Seniors are particularly affected with almost 11 million or 27% of U.S. residents aged 65 years and older having diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy affects approximately 7.7 million Americans. More than 4 million, over 28% of people with diabetes aged 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy, and of these, some 650-700,000 or almost 4% of all diabetics have advanced diabetic retinopathy that can result in severe vision loss. Diabetic eye disease continues to be the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults 20 to 74 years of age. Diabetic retinopathy is more than twice as common in Mexican Americans and nearly three times as common in African Americans as in non-Hispanic whites. Diabetic eye diseases can be prevented and its progression can be slowed through early detection and diligent diabetes care.

Get a Yearly Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam

In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy may have no symptoms. Having a yearly dilated eye exam allows the doctors at Baltimore Washington Eye Center to examine the retina and optic nerve more thoroughly for signs of damage before changes in vision occur. The key here is that by regularly monitoring the eye health of those with diabetes, it allows us to begin treatment as soon as possible if signs of diabetic eye disease-cataracts, glaucoma and especially diabetic retinopathy-do appear. In particular we want to alert women with diabetes who become pregnant that they may need additional eye exams throughout their pregnancy, as pregnancy can sometimes worsen diabetic retinopathy.

Maintain Normal Blood Glucose Levels
High blood glucose or sugar levels damages the tiny blood vessels in the eyes. This damage is called microangiopathy. Often, this will result in swelling in the retina including a common diabetic vision problem called diabetic macular edema, as well as the formation of abnormal fragile blood vessels that can bleed and form scar tissue in the vitreous and retina. Also, high blood glucose levels are not good for the crystalline of your eyes. Elevated blood sugar can change the shape of lens causing blurry vision and can lead to cataract development.

Maintain Normal Blood Pressure & Cholesterol Levels
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can increase the risk of eye disease and vision loss. Keeping both under control will help the eyes as well as overall health.

Quit Smoking
Diabetics who smoke are absolutely at greater risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-related eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma. Further, we also know that smoking increases your risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD)-and that’s just the eye disease risk. There is a great deal more overall vascular risk including heart disease and stroke associated with smoking.

Get Regular Exercise
Make sure to get some type of regular exercise. Getting regular exercise, even mild exercise, helps to maintain blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels and stay healthy. We know that mild to moderate exercise is helpful in reducing the risk of many eye diseases and problems.

If you or someone you know has diabetes they are encouraged to schedule an eye examination at by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061, 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Gambrills, Maryland 21054 and River Hill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.