Lifestyle

Can diabetes cause glaucoma?

Earlier this year the Philippine Glaucoma Society held a series of awareness campaigns in observation of World Glaucoma Week. Having a failing eyesight myself, vision is indeed of utmost importance. I can hardly imagine going blind – that would be the worst kind of nightmare.

There are so many things that we do not know about the ailment. One of these is the apparent correlation between glaucoma and diabetes. Thankfully I am not a diabetic, but if you are or if you know someone who is, then you may appreciate the succeeding article. Are you a diabetic? Do you suffer from failing eyesight? Does the idea of going blind scare or depress you? Share your thoughts below!

Bad enough that diabetes is causing serious lifestyle changes in many Filipinos today. But with the added risk of permanent blindness, diabetics will surely live a nightmare. Among the many risk factors for potential glaucoma sufferers, diabetes may just be the worse.

Considered as the leading cause of permanent blindness in the Philippines, glaucoma gradually damages the eyes until only the darkness of blindness is left. It attacks the optic nerves, which connects the eyes to the brain, and causes shrinking of the visual field leading to permanent blindness. Common risk factors for glaucoma are eye pressure, age, previous family injury, chronic steroid use, diabetes mellitus and race – among these, eye pressure is the most worrisome.

But for diabetics who day-by-day starts experiencing blurred vision should not get new glasses yet. Instead, visit your ophthalmologist. Terrible eye diseases like glaucoma, cataract and retinopathy may be afoot.

Diabetes is a disease, which results from the inability of the body to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that delivers sugar from blood to cells, which will use it for energy. Sugar accumulates in the blood in the absence of insulin.

With Diabetes, high blood sugar levels cause the lens of the eye to swell and therefore changes your ability to see. It also affects the stability of blood vessels causing a derangement of blood supply to the retina (the processing film of the eye).

Primary open-angle glaucoma, a common type of glaucoma, may or may not show symptoms. But symptoms like headaches, eye aches or pain, blurred vision, watering eyes, halos around lights and, ultimately, loss of vision are common.

“There is an association between Diabetes and the development of Primary Open Angle Glaucoma because they basically affect the same age group. A particular type of glaucoma called Neovascular Glaucoma may be a direct consequence of Diabetic disease of the retina” said Dr. Biboy Martinez, one of the country’s leading experts in glaucoma and the vice president of the Philippine Glaucoma Society (PGS).

Diabetics must visit the doctor once they experience the following symptoms: black spots in vision, flashes of light, holes in vision and blurred vision.

However, whether or not diabetics are experiencing blurred vision, they should be wary that they are the most at risk of the dreaded glaucoma.

People with type 1 diabetes should visit their eye doctors at most three to five years after diagnosis. For patients with type 2 diabetes, the should pay a visit to their eye doctor immediately after diagnosis.

Annual eye exams are recommended for both types of diabetes. Pregnant women must be wary as well if they have a history of glaucoma. They should get eye exams prior and during pregnancy.

Treatments for glaucoma in diabetes can include special eye drops, laser procedures, medicine and even surgery.

The Philippine Glaucoma Society with Allergan has launched a series of programs, activities and awareness campaigns in local and online communities to spread the word on the adverse effects of glaucoma to its patients and to the country.

Philippine Glaucoma Society with Allergan brings scientific excellence and rigor in delivering leading products that addresses glaucoma. Allergan goes beyond providing education and information. With the highest level of integrity, Allergan helps patients understand the choices available to them and make well-informed treatment decisions with their doctors.

Life can be sweeter for diabetics without the nightmare of permanent blindness. Visit your eye doctor regularly.