Diabetes is more than just a condition related to blood sugar levels; it has wide-reaching implications on various parts of the body, including the eyes. For those diagnosed with diabetes, understanding the potential impact on vision is essential to ensure optimal eye health.
Eyes are considered one of the most important body parts due to their crucial role in providing the sense of vision, which is fundamental to how we perceive and interact with the world. And much like other organs, eyes age and change over time. Unsurprisingly, through a lifetime, eyes undergo various changes that can affect vision and overall eye health.
Cataracts, a common vision problem especially prevalent among older adults, are characterized by a clouding of the eye's natural lens. This can lead to a variety of vision complications, such as blurred vision, difficulties with glare, and trouble seeing at night. While the development of cataracts is often seen as a natural part of aging, there are certain preventive measures that can slow their progression and keep your eyes in the best possible health.
Cataracts are, or will be, a fact of life for most of us as age and exposure to the sun take their toll. Fortunately, modern cataract surgery is quick, safe, and extremely effective, as Dr. Linda Hsu explains in this episode.
Plus, Dr. Bob Melrose highlights a new eye drop which touts to treat presbyopia, and then talks with Elizabeth Sanchez from the Women's Center Youth & Family Services about their "Adopt a Family" program for Christmas.
As our bodies age, new health conditions often arise in our eyes. Dr. Linda Hsu talks about eye care for senior adults, and how some common conditions can be managed or even avoided.
Then, have you ever looked at a cloud or a bagel and suddenly saw the shape of a face? Dr. John Demshar has been so fascinated by this phenomenon that he wrote a book about it! And if you want to hear a story about free eye exams, suspicious border authorities, and the no-fly list, give this episode a listen!
Today’s seniors are more active than ever and life expectancy is longer than ever. That is why annual eye exams are very important as you get older. Seniors are more susceptible to developing diabetes and high blood pressure - both of which can affect your vision. Cataracts and macular degeneration are two more eye diseases that can develop over the years. Early detection for any of these eye conditions is important in maintaining good visual outcomes.
A long-time patient made a comment that it seemed to her that “everyone” has either prediabetes or diabetes. She was not too far off. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30.3 million Americans or 9.4% of the US population have diabetes; 23.1 million people have diagnosed diabetes and 7.2 million people have undiagnosed diabetes. The prediabetes statistic is even more staggering…84.1 million or about 1 out of 3 adults in the United States have prediabetes and 90% of them do not know they have it.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is formed when the natural lens of our eye becomes cloudy or opaque. The human eye contains a natural lens which provides much of the “power” that allows us to see clearly and focus on the things we see. Over time, this natural lens begins to lose its clarity, which in turn can affect your overall vision. I like to use the analogy of trying to see through a dirty or hazy windshield. The best way to know you have cataracts is by having your routine comprehensive eye exam.
"What are cataracts?” and "Do I have cataracts?” are two of the most common questions asked during an eye examination. What are cataracts? A cataract is formed when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. The lens is the part of the eye that helps focus light or an image on the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, similar to film in cameras. When the lens is cloudy, it will interfere with the light entering the eye and imaging on the retina. Hence, vision will be blurred or hazy. Colors will be less vivid or intense and more difficult to distinguish. There may be increased sensitivity to glare from lights, especially when driving at night and difficulty seeing at night. Reading and other routine activities become more difficult to perform. The two pictures below illustrate the difference in vision between an eye with a normal lens...
Diabetes is a disease that affects approximately 29 million or 9 % of the American population and is the 7th leading cause of death in this country. Of those affected Americans 15% to 20% will suffer some visual impairment due to the disease. Diabetic patients are 60% more likely to develop cataracts at an younger age and 40% more likely to be diagnosed with glaucoma - both of which can cause severe vision loss if left untreated. Because diabetes is largely treatable with diet and medication, we can reduce the likelihood of these side effects from occurring or at least delay their severity.