Did you ever play that game as a child where you and your friends ask yourselves, “Which would you prefer? To be blind or deaf?” Yeah, it’s a weird game and I never said that my friends and I were normal! The point is, I always chose deafness or blindness. As an adult, I know that no physical impairment is ever preferred, but I always assumed that I could live without my hearing in a much easier fashion than without my sight. Maybe I’m wrong. Who knows?
The point is, our eyes and eyesight are very important. And there are a number of serious complications that can be caused by Type-1 Diabetes that affect the eyes. Most people don’t seem to understand that the eyes are actually an extremity. one wouldn’t think so, considering the eyeballs are attached to the body mainly by the optic nerve. Despite being contained in the ocular cavity, the eyes are very much an extremity of the body and are subject to many of the same complications as your fingers and toes.
“The Eyes Are The Window To Your Soul.”– William Shakespear
Diabetic eye disease is a common problem that affects people with Diabetes, regardless of type. And the risk of these problems increases in tandem with the length of time one has had Diabetes. There are a LOT of these complications, but I’ll cover off the most common ones as well as the ones I’ve actually had at some points, myself.
- Cataracts: This is a blurring of the lens of the eye. The blurriness causes your eye to be unable to focus on what you’re looking at. This means impaired vision and surgery is normally required to replace the damaged lens. People with Diabetes can develop cataracts much earlier than the average person and what’s more, it will get worse much faster;
- Diabetic Retinopathy: Here’s the first one that I’ve had to experience. This one is a condition where the blood vessels at the back of the eye are damaged. Although both Type-1 and Type-2 can get this condition, it’s usually attributed to poor control of blood sugar. It’s usually treated by way of laser procedures that burn away the damaged vessels;
- Diabetic Macular Edema: This is the second condition I’ve had to deal with, and still do. Macular Edema is a result of the accumulation of fluid near the retina and is usually a result of leaking blood vessels. If you’ve had Retinopathy, you’re likely to develop Macular Edema. Macular Edema can sometimes be treated by way of laser procedures or injections into the eyeball. I get the latter. Which sucks. A lot.
- Glaucoma: This is a pretty common one, and it involves fluid in the eye causing too much pressure that ultimately damages nerves and tissue. It can often be treated by medications, depending on the type but surgery is often required; and
- Corneal Ulcers: The most common way to develop corneal ulcers is by way of infection, and I don’t need to tell you how vulnerable to infections we Diabetics happen to be. It referred to as “corneal” because it presents as an open sore right on the cornea. However, it’s diagnostically called Diabetic Keratopathy. They usually won’t heal on their own and are usually treated by way of antifungals or antiviral medications.
There are other eye-related complications, but these are the most common ones that I’ve heard of/dealt with throughout my years with Diabetes. Obviously, prevention includes proper exercise, firm control of blood sugars and proper diet. Whether you have Diabetes or not, you visit an eye doctor at least once a year to ensure your health and prevent some of these conditions from worsening should you develop them. ☯