Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 – Chronic Eye and Vision Complications
Type 2 diabetes could be hard to accept and acknowledge, and some of the complications can be particularly hard to bare. If the chronic Type 2 diabetic patient does not attend to their own self-care, one of the consequences could actually be blindness. While total loss of vision only occurs in less than 2% of type 2 diabetics, nearly all of them will have some amount of retinopathy, and by 10 years, over half have developed it. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths nationally in America - a country with more than its share of obesity.
It also takes a toll through both emotional and physical stress, once the diabetic process starts to get the upper hand. More often than not, the warning signs of various complications like diabetic retinopathy are ignored, and the diabetic, who may not wish to think about the risks he faces, might be inclined to tune out these symptoms, such as blurry vision, and lack of focus. Sometimes there are no symptoms. Sometimes there is a lack of knowledge about the complications and risks from diabetes. Furthermore, the diabetic can mistakenly believe that insulin and/or other medications are sufficient to address their poor blood glucuse control, their Diabetes Eye Problems, and so may not own their part in the treatment.
The of loss of eye sight in adults diabetics is a serious and all too common problem, and diabetic retinopathy problems is a primary cause of that blindness. Other eye problems, like floaters and macular edema can be devastating. I myself have type 2 diabetes, and blurry vision led me to see my eye doctor. Even though I have some floaters, and atrocious night vision, he gave my retina a “clean bill of health.” At least for another year. As mentioned already, diabetics may not have any symptoms, or they may have the tell tale blurry vision, but an examination of the retina will clarify how much if any damage the retina has sustained.
For most diabetics, even with a diagnosis of retinal problems, the treatment approach might initially be conservative, with an emphasis on controlling blood sugars, and cholesterol. Blood sugar needs to be kept in check, and big swings avoided; furthermore, hemoglobin a1c should be well below 7.0. But as the disease progresses, if the diabetes continues to worsen, then more intrusive interventions may be needed. Among the options then to address the eye problems would be laser surgery, and if that is not feasible, then other surgical procedures and even freezing the eye are options.
This is the first article in a series on complications in diabetes, to see the next, on diabetic foot problems, follow the link.