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How Diabetes takes a toll on your Vision (Diabetic Retinopathy)

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  Koramangala, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   2 min     


Diabetes is a chronic condition in which your body develops an insulin resistance and fails to metabolize the glucose in your blood stream. This increased level of blood sugar is actually very harmful for the human body because it leads to other associated complications that can affect major organ functions. It can even lead to organ damage and eventual organ failure, which in some cases can even result in death.

How Diabetes affects your vision?

Prolonged high blood sugar has had an increasingly negative effect on eye health, resulting in Diabetic Eye Diseases. It’s a group of eye conditions that include Diabetic Retinopathy, Diabetic Macular Edema, Cataract and Glaucoma.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

This condition happens when the high blood sugar present in a person’s body for a long time causes damage to the retina. The retina is a layer at the back of the eyeball that contains sensory cells responsible for receiving light and then triggering nerve impulses and passing the signal to our brain, which in turn then enables us to see. When this layer is damaged, vision is also hampered. If allowed to go unchecked, Diabetic Retinopathy may even result in blindness.

What is Diabetic Macular Edema?

When Diabetic Retinopathy is allowed to continue unchecked in a Diabetic person, then it can develop into Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). When the damaged blood vessels in the retina (due to Retinopathy) start building up pressure in the eye, they start leaking fluids that accumulates in the macula. The macula is the part of the retina which controls our most detailed vision abilities, and because of DME, it can result in vision impairment. The most common symptoms of DME are blurry vision, prominent floaters in line of vision, double vision and possible blindness, if allowed to go unchecked.

What is cataract?

Cataract is generally an age-related condition in which the eye’s naturally clear lens becomes cloudy or opaque, thus preventing light to pass through it and causing vision impairment. This is also another vision related side-effect of unchecked high blood sugar. Although it’s more of an age-related impairment, diabetes can speed up the lens damage, thus leading to cataract development in young people as well. Excess sugar levels in the blood stream can affect the aqueous humor that provides nutrition to the lens. This increased levels of glucose can lead to the deposition of a substance called sorbitol on the lens, causing them to become more opaque and thus impairing vision.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the condition in which development of new blood capillaries and vessels in the eye can lead to increase in pressure and thus vision impairment. In extreme cases of Diabetic Retinopathy, where the existing blood vessels get damaged, there is a proliferation of newer capillaries and vessels that can lead to pressure increase and then eventually cause vision loss because of glaucoma.

 Thus it’s obvious that unchecked high blood sugar can affect your eyes and vision in multiple ways. Regular eye examinations are a must in people suffering from Diabetes, to ensure proper working vision.

Tags:  Diabetes,

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