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How Diabetes Affects Your Eyes

woman looking into distance

Diabetes is a disease which effects many Canadians. Many of us are aware that diabetes is characterized by the body’s inability to regulate insulin. But did you know that it can lead to vision loss?

Those who have diabetes should see their optometrist on an annual basis to assess the effect of the disease on the eyes.

However, because many patients are first diagnosed with the disease at their regular eye exam, it is important everyone keep on top of their regular eye check-ups.


What are the symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

Many patients will not notice any symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a medical term, which refers to blood leakage in the eye. This occurs due to continuous swelling and weakening of the blood vessels in the eye. Both type 1 and 2 diabetes are susceptible to diabetic retinopathy, and so it is crucial to be proactive and visit your optometrist, or else there is a risk of blindness if left untreated.

As retinopathy progresses patients may experience the following symptoms, which should not be ignored:

  • Changes in near and far vision
  • Double vision
  • Flashes and or floaters within the eye
  • Poor visual field
  • Blurry vision

Additionally, patients may develop other such eye conditions due to the disease, such as glaucoma, early cataracts, and loss of control due to eye paralysis.


What can I do once I am diagnosed with Diabetes?

The most important step patients can take after the initial diagnosis is ensuring they are attending their annual eye exams. There your optometrist can identify, monitor, and treat retinopathy and give you the necessary knowledge and tools to deal with the eye disease. It is also important that patients follow the instructions of their GP regarding diet, exercise, and medication.


What treatments are available for me if I have Retinopathy?

Depending on the diagnosis of the retinopathy, you may receive injections into the eye; laser therapy; or surgery. The earlier the condition is identified the better the treatment success. Your optometrist will monitor your eyes and recommend that you come in at least once a year for an eye exam, or more frequently to monitor the type of treatment. Dr. Balraj Sharma co-manages with several ophthalmologist on the island as well if needed.

At Inner Harbour Optometry we stress to all patients that good eye maintenance is key in prevention, detection, and treatment of this all too common ailment. If you love your eyes, they will love you back!


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