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Diabetes Increases Risk For Vision Loss

Vision loss can be a result of diabetes. This is one of the symptoms that is less well-known for this disease. Yet your eyes can suffer significant harm when diabetes is not well-controlled. This heightened risk to vision for the diabetic is due to the effects of high blood glucose levels on blood vessels.

Diabetics are at higher risk for such problems as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma than other people. Diabetic retinopathy may cause vision loss in more diabetics than any other condition. Retinopathy refers to complications affecting the retina, a part of the eye.

The retina is in the back of the eye, where pictures are received before they are sent to the brain. The retina has many tiny blood vessels, which are at the mercy of the high blood sugar (glucose) levels of diabetes.

Retinopathy can come in two different forms. They are proliferative retinopathy and non-proliferative retinopathy. Of the two conditions, proliferative retinopathy can cause the most damage to blood vessels, to the point that they may become closed off completely. To remedy this situation the body will produce new blood vessels but these replacements are weak and red blood cells may find their way into the eyes.

When these blood vessels are repaired, scarring can occur, and can eventually lead to pulling the retina out of its proper place. Retinal detachment can cause vision loss.

Non-proliferative retinopathy can be the result of enlarged capillaries leaking fluid into the eyes. The macula, which is also part of the eye, may swell. Vision may become blurry. If  this swelling, also known as macular edema is not brought into check, loss of vision may be the outcome. The diabetic should be vigilant about having regular eye examinations.

Research from the University of British Columbia may offer some future respite for those dealing with diabetic retinopathy. A team of engineers and scientists have designed a drug delivery device that can be placed in the eye socket, where it can release a drug as needed. This was reported on Publicaffairs.ubc.ca in a June 29, 2011 media release.

Their research could lead to significant improvement over the laser therapy which has been the previous treatment path for diabetic retinopathy. Laser therapy can damage to peripheral vision and night vision. More study is needed but researchers are hopeful that this new drug delivery device will be of benefit to diabetics and their vision.

Sources:

New Hope For Diabetic Retinopathy Patients

http://www.empowher.com/diabetes/content/new-hope-diabetic-retinopathy-patients

UBC Researchers Invent New Drug Delivery Device To Treat Diabetes-Related Vision Loss; University of British Columbia – News Room – Media Release – June, 2011.

http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2011/06/29/ubc-researchers-invent-new-drug-delivery-device-to-treat-diabetes-related-vision-loss/

Diabetic Retinopathy. Mayoclinic.com

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetic-retinopathy/DS00447

How Uncontrolled Diabetes can Affect Your Vision

http://www.empowher.com/diabetes-type-2/content/how-uncontrolled-diabetes-can-affect-your-vision

 

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