Focusing on Diabetic Eye Problems

When it comes to vision, Cotton O'Neil Opthamologist Babak Marefat says people with diabetes should have a clear picture of what can go wrong.

"It attacks like a pack of wolves," Dr. Marefat said. "It attacks everything at the same time, yet you never know how much damage it's going to do."

Marefat said elevated blood sugar levels attack the body's small blood vessels first - that includes those that feed the retina. It puts patients more at risk for macular edema - swelling around the retina - and diabetic retinophoty - where abnormal blood vessels from to help keep up with the retina's demand for oxygen.

"Those abnormal blood vessels are not as competent as the one's we're born with and they're under a lot of stress," Marefat said. "They tend to break, bleed and cause serious loss of vision."

The good news is treatment is available to slow the damage if it's caught early. People with diabetes should have a thorough eye exam once a year, more often if they notice changes in their vision.

A person's vision is a very subjective issue. No person is a good judge of how well a patient sees than a patient themself," Marefat said. "The minute you feel there's something that just isn't right, let one of us have a look."

Even better, he said, stop problems before they start. Proper diet, exercise and blood sugar control can keep you looking good and seeing well.


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