Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar levels due to the inability of the body to break down sugar in the bloodstream. There are two basic types of diabetes. Type 1, formerly called juvenile onset, is due to a defect in the pancreas’ ability to make insulin, which is needed to break down sugar. In type 1 diabetes, the person is dependent on insulin medication for survival. Type 2 diabetes, which is most common, is later onset, and is caused by a low production of insulin. This type can usually be controlled with medication or diet/exercise.

Diabetes and its complications can affect many parts of the eye. Fluctuating vision is caused by swelling of the lens inside the eye due to varying blood sugar levels. The diabetic is at a higher risk of developing eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma. The most serious eye problem is diabetic retinopathy. Sometimes the early signs of diabetes are detected during an eye health examination. Some of the damage to the eyes from diabetes is treatable, and others can be permanent. Health care providers usually focus on controlling blood sugar levels to minimize the risk of damage.


Author: Dr. George Hertneky

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