People who have diabetes, especially those who are recently diagnosed, may not be fully aware of how the disease can affect their eyes. Eye care is an extremely crucial part of managing diabetes. A number of specific conditions need to be monitored and treated by ophthalmologists who specialize in diabetic eye care, such as those at our Queens and Bronx locations.
In this blog post, we’ll provide a brief overview of diabetic eye disease, which is an umbrella term that includes several distinct eye conditions. Even though most people who have diabetes have nothing more than minor eye disorders over time, it’s helpful to learn and understand the more serious vision complications associated with the disease. That way, if you do develop a major problem, the chances are better that you’ll get effective treatment earlier.
Diabetic Eye Disease
People with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing these specific eye conditions:
- Blurry vision: High blood sugar can cause swelling of the eyes’ lenses, resulting in blurry vision. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to immediately get new glasses. The blurred vision often clears once the blood sugar level returns to the target range. In some cases, though, it can take up to 3 months for vision to return to normal. Diabetics who notice blurred vision should make an appointment with their eye doctor.
- Cataracts: Many people without diabetes develop cataracts when they get older. Diabetics, however, are more likely to get cataracts at a younger age and have them progress faster. Cataracts impair vision because they cloud the clear lens of the eye. For mild cataracts, patients should wear sunglasses more often and have eyeglasses with glare control. Cataract surgery is needed as it becomes increasingly difficult to see.
- Glaucoma: Diabetics are more likely to develop glaucoma, which occurs when pressure builds in the eye and pinches the blood vessels that carry blood to the retina and optic nerve. The risk of glaucoma for both diabetics and non-diabetics increases with age, and the longer someone has diabetes, the greater the chances of developing glaucoma. There are various treatments for the condition that improve a person’s vision.
- Diabetic retinopathy: Multiple types of retinopathy exist and, as with glaucoma, the longer someone has diabetes, the more likely it is that he or she will have some form of retinopathy. In addition to the duration of diabetes, risk factors for developing retinopathy include fluctuating blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and genetics. Because people often don’t have any symptoms of retinopathy until the retina is badly damaged, it’s extremely important for diabetics to have regular eye exams.
The earlier an eye doctor spots any of these conditions, the more effective the treatments can be. Our ophthalmologists and optometrists are experienced and provide excellent eye care for people with diabetes. Two of our ophthalmologists specialize in treating retinal diseases.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, and you are looking for an ophthalmologist, we have 2 locations in Queens and 1 in the Bronx. You can request an appointment using the online form or call us directly at (718) 585-5500 (Bronx), (718) 206-2002 (Jamaica), or (718) 205-5050 (Jackson Heights).