- Poorly controlled blood glucose is associated with serious eye complications such as diabetic retinopathy.
- Ophthalmological examinations in diabetic patients are essential to prevent and make early diagnoses.
Diabetes and eye health is now available, the second chapter of Descansa la vista, the podcast of the Barraquer Ophthalmology Centre. In this program, Dr. Santiago Abengoechea, an ophthalmologist in the Barraquer Retina and Vitreous area, explains the main eye pathologies associated with diabetes and what diabetics should take into account to prevent them.
In addition, the chapter clarifies what intravitreal injections consist of, a very effective treatment in dealing with the main ocular complications of diabetes, as well as intraocular microsurgery techniques (vitrectomy).
Listeners can subscribe on the main podcast platforms: Ivoox, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts; and launch all your doubts about visual health on social networks with the hashtag #DescansaLaVista so that they can be resolved in the next chapters.
Eye diseases associated with diabetes
The main complications of diabetes at the ocular level are the following:
- Diabetic retinopathy: it is caused by diabetes and is the most frequent vascular disease of the retina. This pathology damages the vessels of the retina, the back layer of the eye. Damaged blood vessels dilate, leak fluid (plasma, lipids, or blood) or become occluded, preventing circulation in this area.
- Frequently, diabetic retinopathy is associated with macular oedema. The macula is the central area of the retina or fundus of the eye, it is the point of maximum vision and its oedema is generated by an increase in the permeability of the blood vessels that irrigate it.
- Glaucoma or cataracts: patients with diabetes are twice as likely to develop these other pathologies compared to people who do not have the disease.
Any of these phenomena, to which diabetic patients are predisposed, can lead to a loss of visual acuity, but it is possible to prevent them with good glycemic control and ophthalmological examinations.
Responsibility of the diabetic patient
Diabetes mellitus affects more than 400 million people in the world and in Catalonia alone it is estimated that more than 8% of the population suffers from it, although it is also known that there are many undiagnosed patients. This chronic disorder of the body is characterized by an increase in blood sugar levels, since the pancreas does not produce insulin or that the body does not use it properly.
About one in three people with diabetes over the age of 40 have some sign of diabetic retinopathy. This ocular pathology, whose damage is irreversible, may not present symptoms in its earliest stages, so ophthalmological check-ups and early detection are essential to stop the progression towards blindness.
Dr. Abengoechea insists on the importance of eye check-ups: “Ideally, every patient diagnosed with diabetes should go to the ophthalmologist once a year. Of course, if you already have some type of ocular complication, the controls will be stricter”.