By posted June 2014 –blackdoctor.org
Typically when one thinks of diabetes thoughts about how the disease affects blood sugar levels, limbs and weight are generated, but how this disease affects vision should be one of the first ailments to be of major concern. Eyesight is a beautiful sense that helps with navigating through life more easily, but when vision becomes threatened it can make life a bit more difficult for the ailing. Diabetes can affect the vision of those living with the disease in a few different ways, and fortunately, with proper maintenance the following issues can be avoided:
Diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina) is the primary visionary problem caused by diabetes and is the leading cause of new cases of blindness or low vision in adults ages 20-65. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is damage to the small blood vessels that nourish tissue and nerve cells in the retina and it affects 1 out of 20 adults who have diabetes. Yearly retina exams and proper management of diabetes can help with keeping the retinas healthy and free of nerve damage.
Limited Eye Movement
Diabetes can affect any one of the three cranial nerves that are responsible for movement of the eyes and in some cases cause paralysis of the “sixth nerve”, affecting the lateral rectus muscle responsible for allowing the eye to look outward. Paralysis can be temporary and last a few months or become permanent.
Bacterial pink eye and/or eyelid styes are common ailments amongst people who have diabetes. The disease affects the autoimmune system, lowering one’s resistance to infection. Practicing good hygiene by washing hands frequently and avoiding the rubbing/touching of eyes as well as managing blood sugar levels can help to keep the eyes healthy and free of infection.
Yearly eye exams and proper maintenance of diabetes through a healthy diet and daily exercise can help with keeping vision clear and the eyes healthy overall.