When you suffer from diabetes, it puts you at higher risk to develop eye diseases. Glaucoma is one of many diseases collectively known as diabetic eye disease. Other diseases include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema and cataracts. Each form of diabetic eye disease is capable of causing significant vision loss and blindness.
Why does diabetes cause eye disease?
Increased blood sugar levels cause changes in capillary walls and can cause blood vessel damage. Weak blood vessels in the eyes can leak blood and fluid and cause diabetic retinopathy. As the disease progresses, retinal blood vessels close and are replaced by abnormal blood vessels. The abnormal vessels along the eye's drainage pathway can increase the pressure inside of the eye and cause stress to the optic nerve. If this stress is not relieved, it can progress into glaucoma and cause permanent eye damage or even blindness.
Importance of eye exams
Glaucoma and other forms of diabetic eye disease can develop slowly and painlessly over the course of months or years. Staying current with comprehensive eye exams is the best way to prevent vision loss, so people with diabetic eye disease should have their eyes examined at least once per year. If you have diabetes, it is essential to control your condition with the help of your primary care physician and eye care specialist. Along with scheduling regular doctor visits, be sure to take your medication as prescribed, exercise regularly, and eat a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins (Source: NEI).