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Diabetes And The Eye
Diabetes is a chronic disease that prevents the body from producing enough insulin and prevents the body from using this insulin. This causes the body to have increased sugar levels in the blood stream also known as elevated blood sugars.
In Canada, the number of people living with diabetes is approximately 3.3 million. This is more than
breast cancer and AIDS patients combined. Type 2 diabetes, or non-insulin dependent diabetes is the most common form of diabetes accounting for over 90% of cases.
If the blood sugar levels are not under control, diabetes can affect the eyes and cause severe
complications to vision. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause vision fluctuations and changes in nearsightedness, farsightedness, and premature presbyopes. People may experience blurry vision, and occasional double vision and loss of their peripheral vision.
More commonly, uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause retinal blood vessels to leak leading to
hemorrhages or bleeding inside the eyes. Bleeding leads to scar tissues, and in turn leads to possible permanent changes in vision. This is called Diabetic retinopathy.
Uncontrolled diabetes can also accelerate cataract formation, glaucoma, and possible paralysis of the nerves that control the eye muscles. Early treatment and diagnosis is key to preventing these
complications to the eyes.
Here in the office, Dr. Chow and associates examines patients with diabetes on a daily basis. In Ontario with a valid health card, anyone who have diabetes can be covered under OHIP for yearly eye examinations. Dr. Chow and associates also help patients who show early signs of possible diabetes by referring them to see their primary care physician for further testing and blood work. After every diabetic eye examination, Dr. Chow will send a report to your primary care physician and your endocrinologist in order for us to work as a team to control your diabetes.
For more information, please see www.opto.ca/diabetes, diabetes association, etc.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic Retinopathy is a condition resulting from damage caused to the retina by the effects of diabetes. Patients with diabetes have high blood sugar levels that damage blood vessels, which include those in the eyes. More specifically, blood vessels that supplies the retina are damaged, which limits the amount of oxygen that it receives. The blood vessels may also be more prone to bleeding, and correspondingly leak into the retina.