There was a relative of mine who was diagnosed with diabetes in his early 30s. It was quite complex in his situation because he first started facing some vision problems out of nowhere that prompted him to visit an ophthalmologist. The doctor tried correcting his vision by giving him lenses but his diabetes was never checked. After a few months, he again started complaining of blurred vision with severe eye pain, headache, redness in eyes and halos around eyes. He went to see a doctor immediately and much to his surprise, he was diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes is a very complex medical condition that can affect your health extensively. It can affect every part of your body starting from the kidney to the nerves, but a common complication is diabetic eye disease. And one of the eye diseases developed by diabetes is glaucoma. The other diabetic eye diseases include cataract and retinopathy.
Diabetes and Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages the optic nerves of the eyes and it keeps getting worse over time that might even lead to permanent blindness within a few years if not treated.
In glaucoma, an immense amount of pressure builds up in the eyes(called intraocular pressure) due to poor drainage of fluids that can damage the blood vessels and change visions.
You might not know that you are having glaucoma as it has no prominent signs and symptoms or even pain. Therefore it is always advised to visit an eye doctor once every six months to get your eye checked. Don’t wait for your vision to blur before you visit the doctor. An eye checkup is a must in your regular checkup routine.
It has been found that diabetics have twice the risk of developing glaucoma than non-diabetics.
There are two types of glaucoma,
- Open-angle glaucoma
- Angle-closure glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma is very common but it is difficult to diagnose early as the drain structure in the eyes might look the same but the fluid is not able to flow out.
Angle-closure glaucoma is also termed as acute or chronic angle-closure or narrow-angle glaucoma. The drain space between the iris and cornea becomes too narrow for the fluid to get drained out properly. This leads to a pressure building up inside the eyes and is also characterized by cataract or far-sightedness.
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How can you know if you have glaucoma?
There are no early symptoms of glaucoma as such and most people are unaware that they have the condition. But however, the first sign that is observed is the loss of peripheral vision or the side vision. But at times, it might go unnoticed until the disease is in its later stages. However, these are some symptoms of glaucoma that you must take into consideration and consult with a doctor at the earliest.
- Immediate eye pressure and severe eye pain
- Sudden vision loss
- Redness in eyes
- Seeing halos around eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
Glaucoma is a common eye defect that people with diabetes usually encounter. There is no way you can prevent glaucoma but you can definitely control it. Know your family history and if anyone in your family is diabetic, get your blood sugar levels checked and visit an ophthalmologist for an eye checkup.