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How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyesight

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyesight

By - Isaac Olawole Joseph

Posted - 04-08-2019

Researchers are of the opinion that glaucoma can occur as a result of diabetes. Diabetes is a serious body disease that occurs when the human body is not able to produce enough insulin. Insulin is the most important hormone in the human body that extracts sugar from the blood and turns it into energy to be consumed by the cells. Most of the adults over the age of 40 with an unhealthy lifestyle and obesity get struck by diabetes.

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However, there are certain other risk factors for diabetes including:

  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • People belonging to African, Polynesian, Latin or Japanese descent

Glaucoma is an optic disease which mostly affects the people that have diabetes, have glaucoma in the family, having consumed steroids for a longer time or are from African, Scandinavian, and Russian or Hispanic descent. There are no obvious glaucoma signs and symptoms as glaucoma snatches your vision away like a quiet and sneaky thief. The very first sign of glaucoma is that it affects your side vision. Although, most people are unable to experience this loss until they have reached the advanced stage of the disease.

Link between Glaucoma and Diabetes

The biggest issue with diabetes is that it results in certain eye diseases such as glaucoma. People with diabetes usually get attacked by open-angle glaucoma. Researchers are of the opinion that people who are diabetic have more chances of developing glaucoma than the people who don’t have diabetes. If perceived in an opposite way, then the person with open-angle glaucoma has more chances of developing diabetes than the people without glaucoma.

Forms of Glaucoma

There are different forms of glaucoma but the two forms that are commonly experienced by most of the people include:

  • angle-closure glaucoma
  • open-angle glaucoma
Angle-closure Glaucoma: Signs and symptoms

People getting attacked by angle-closure glaucoma experience the following symptoms:

  • the vision gets blurred or seems hazy
  • there is severe pain in the head
  • pain in the head spread towards eyes
  • upon looking at the bright lights, a person sees rainbow-like circles surrounding the lights
  • complete and sudden loss of eyesight
  • severe nausea
Open-angle Glaucoma: Signs and symptoms

People who get attacked by open-angle glaucoma experience no significant symptoms for a longer time period.

  • The only symptom that occurs is mostly of a side-vision loss which is also known as peripheral vision loss.

As most of the people fail to notice side-vision loss so they fail to recognise their disease. If you have a family history of open-angle glaucoma then you must make regular visits to your physician for eye exams, especially after the age of 35.

Neovascular Glaucoma

The presence of diabetes in the body can also trigger the rarest form of glaucoma known as Neovascular glaucoma. There are certain blood vessels located on the retina that gets damaged as a result of diabetic retinopathy. After the damage of these blood vessels, retina creates new blood vessels. The new blood vessels developed by retina are abnormal. Neovascular glaucoma starts to develop if these abnormal blood vessels grow on the iris. The situation gets quite dangerous as Neovascular glaucoma cuts off the flow of fluid within the eye and increases the eye pressure. It can either be treated through laser surgery or drainage implants.

Glaucoma signs and symptoms are not easy to detect as glaucoma attacks the human eyes like a sneaky thief.

Treatment of Glaucoma

Glaucoma treatment is available in four different types and is only effective if the disease is detected in its early stages.

The biggest issue with glaucoma is that the damage that occurs as a result of glaucoma cannot be reversed. However, if the disease is detected at an early stage then the occurrence of damage can be contained and slowed down. The basic goal of the glaucoma treatment is to reduce the intensity of the pressure in the eyes. A glaucoma patient has certain treatment options including:

  • Eye drops
  • Oral medicines
  • Laser treatment
  • Surgery

Glaucoma treatment through eye drops

The very first option of glaucoma treatment used by the doctors is to treat through the eye drops. The basic idea behind using eye drops is to decrease the pressure in the eye by decreasing fluid. The eye drops that are commonly used to treat glaucoma include:

Beta Blockers These types of eye drops are used to reduce the eye pressure by controlling the fluid production in the eye. Although this method of treatment is quite effective but there are various side effects attached to it such as:

  • Feeling stinging irritation in the eyes
  • Mild reddening in the eyes
  • Blurred or obscured vision
  • Change in the pigment of eyelashes

Prostaglandins- These types of eye drops reduce the pressure in your eyes by elevating the drainage of the fluid.

Oral Treatment for Glaucoma

Most of the times, eye drops treatment is not a sufficient treatment for glaucoma so doctors also prescribe oral treatment such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitor for a speedy recovery.

Laser Treatment

The most common laser treatment used for glaucoma is called Laser trabeculoplasty. It is mostly used for the people suffering from open-angle glaucoma.


The different types of surgeries that are used to treat glaucoma include filtering surgery, electrocautery and drainage tubes.

Preventing Glaucoma

Although glaucoma cannot be prevented but if diagnosed at an early stage then vision loss arising as a result of glaucoma can be prevented. The biggest risk factor with glaucoma is that the vision loss that arises as a result of primary open angle glaucoma can be slow but steady. At first, a person loses peripheral vision and then the central vision gets lost.

If detected on time then the glaucoma medicines can slow down the occurrence of blindness by decreasing the severity of the intraocular pressure. In this way, damage to the optic nerve is prevented up to a certain extent. Although, surgical treatments are also available for the prevention of glaucoma but it’s best to control glaucoma through the help of exercise.

Glaucoma prevention might not seem possible to many people but it is a fact that glaucoma can be controlled if detected on time.

Glaucoma occurs when damage occurs in the optic nerve of your eye. If not treated on time, glaucoma can get worse with the passage of time. Glaucoma usually occurs due to the pressure building up inside the eye.

Glaucoma prevention is not possible as it is a hereditary disease but it can be controlled with the help of certain precautionary measures.

Controlling Glaucoma

Glaucoma can be controlled if it is detected early. If you have a family history of glaucoma then there are certain timings when you should get your eyes checked:

  • If you have not yet reached the age of 40 then you must get your eyes checked after almost every two to four years.
  • If your age falls between the range of 40 to 54 years then you must get your eyes checked once every three years.
  • If you have crossed the age of 55 but are still younger than 64 then you must get your eyes checked once every two years.
  • After crossing the age of 65, you must get your eyes checked twice a year.

People who have high-risk factors are:

  • People who have diabetes
  • People who have glaucoma in the family
  • People of African descent
  • People who have a close family member with glaucoma such as brother, sister or father

If anybody has high-risk factors for glaucoma then he/she must get checked for at least twice a year after reaching the age of 35.

Glaucoma control through exercise

Doctors strongly recommend performing moderate exercise on regular basis in order to help with glaucoma prevention. Performing moderate exercise on regular basis not only makes you active but it also incurs other positive effects on your overall health. According to the doctors’ recommendations, glaucoma can be controlled by walking or jogging four to five times a week.

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Before starting regular exercise, you must keep in mind that you can only control glaucoma through exercise if you continue to exercise on regular basis. If you stop exercising then glaucoma can hit you back with extreme force. You can also control glaucoma through yoga but you must discuss it with your doctor before starting as there are certain positions that you must avoid. Most of the doctors will prevent you from using shoulder or headstands while performing yoga.

You might lead yourself towards the blindness of a lifetime but do keep in mind that it can be controlled with regular eye exams.


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Helpful thanks.