Type 1 and 2 diabetes can cause partial vision loss (shown here) and lead to blindness. This damage affects tiny blood vessels inside retina. It can usually be cured, but don't wait until symptoms progress. When you have them - blurry vision, spots, shadows, or pain - illness can be serious. If you have diabetes, get an annual eye exam. The best preventive measure is to control blood sugar levels.
Diabetic retinopathy: what happens
High blood sugar damages tiny blood vessels that support retina. They may swell, burst, and release fluid. Sometimes dozens of new, abnormal blood vessels grow. This is called proliferative retinopathy. They are fragile and easy to open. All of these can damage retina over time, causing blurred vision, blind spots, or blindness.cataract
By age of 80, more than half of us develop cataracts, or clouding of lens. Your vision gradually becomes blurred, making it difficult for you to read, drive, and see at night. Diabetes, smoking, or too much sun exposure increase your chances. Surgery to replace clouded lenses with artificial lenses works well.
Cataract: what to expect?
A healthy lens focuses light on a single point on retina. It captures images like film in a camera. As we age, proteins accumulate in lens. It becomes cloudy and sends scattered light to retina. Instead of a crisp image, you get blurry vision, color change and glare, especially at night. A neglected cataract is easy to see. This is colored circle in center of picture.Retinitis pigmentosa (RP)
You can inherit this disorder from your parents. It usually starts with problems with night vision. This is followed by a slow loss of peripheral vision. This becomes narrow vision and eventually blindness in some cases. High-dose vitamin A supplements can reduce vision loss, and an implant is being developed that can partially restore vision. But please check with your doctor before taking supplements. Too much vitamin A can be toxic.
Retinitis pigmentosa: what to expect?
The light-sensitive retinal tissue is slowly destroyed over many years. When this happens, it no longer sends signals to your brain and you lose some of your vision. Examination of eye reveals abnormal dark spots (pigmentation) around retina. Early cataracts can also occur with swelling of retina called macular edema (shown here as an orange mass in center).floats
Do you see blurry drops or spots moving? These could be floaters - debris in vitreous gel in your eye. They do not interfere with vision and are better seen in bright light. Flies are common and usually harmless. If you have following symptoms, it is recommended that you contact your optometrist immediately:
Tears moisten eyes. Sometimes you don't get enough nutrients, whether it's because of dry air, aging, or other health issues. Your eyes will hurt and get irritated. Eye drops labeled as artificial tears may be effective in mild cases. If it's a more serious problem, other treatments, medications, or nutritional supplements may help.Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
This inflammation is caused by viruses, bacteria, irritants, or an allergic reaction. The eyes may become red, itchy, or burn. If your eyes are itchy, it could be an allergy. The virus you pick up from someone else is usually a virus, so you don't need antibiotics. If pink eye is caused by bacteria, your doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious, so wash your hands often while you wait for conjunctivitis to go away.allergy
They cause itching and tearing. Pollen, grass, dust, weeds, and pet dander are common triggers. An allergist can tell you about common allergens. Keep windows closed in your house and car. You can purchase special pillows and mattress covers to protect against allergens. Clean your home thoroughly and use allergen filters in your stove and air conditioner. Allergy eye drops, artificial tears, and antihistamines may help.
Scheduled Vision Tests
You will need to have regular checkups throughout your life, especially if you have vision problems in your family or if you have other risk factors. An eye exam may also reveal other problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and even strokes or brain tumors. Bulging eyes can signal a thyroid disease. The yellow color of whites of your eyes can be a sign of liver problems.
Protection against "damage" by sun
UV rays can damage your eyes. Exposure can lead to development of cataracts 8-10 years earlier than normal. Just one long exposure to sun can cause very painful irritation of cornea. So wear a hat and sunglasses that block UV rays. You can also stick a transparent UV protective film on side windows of your car. If you have light eyes, you may be more sensitive to light.Food for eye health
Carrots are really good for eyes. The same goes for spinach, nuts, oranges, beef, fish, whole grains, and many other foods that make up a healthy diet. Look for foods that contain antioxidants, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene, as well as zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin.