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Vision and Diabetes<br>by Tina Y. Gerber

Diabetes is a disease which prevents the body from making insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. As a result, the metabolism of fats, proteins and sugars is not balanced, causing problems.

While my blood sugars have levelled out, I try to keep my blood sugars under 7.0. I am now dealing with lipids around my eye(s). My optometrist is unsure whether it’s allergy-related or not, and she has prescribed Cromolyn Sodium used to treat this irritation. She has been monitoring my vision closely since 1981, especially since the onset of diabetes two years ago. While there is some improvement, I am hoping and praying the drops will dissolve the lipids around my eye!

Regular vision examinations are important, as changes in vision can often be an early symptom of diabetes. People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts and glaucoma in addition to other ocular problems.

A common condition I have been facing is ‘dry eye,’ which is normal with the aging process. I was surprised to learn ‘dry eye’ can be a symptom of general health problems, such as arthritis! My eyes feel gritty, as though I have sand in them, and often sting and are painful upon waking. Dry eye is usually chronic, both my Grandma’s had dry eye, and, as far as medical science understands, there is no cure. However, my optometrist has recommended artificial lubricating eye drops to manage this condition which makes me feel more comfortable.

A regular eye exam is important for a person’s overall health. It is recommended adults have a comprehensive eye examination every two years, and seniors and children have one annually.

While spring is here, another important factor to consider is protecting your eyes from the sun. Wearing UV preventative eye gear is just as important as putting on sunscreen to protect against the harmful effects of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to UV rays.

UV light is absorbed by the eye’s tissue and can cause serious eye damage. Being exposed even for short periods can cause several long-term eye health problems, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, photokeratitis, pingueculas, and pterygium, which are directly related to UV exposure. A comprehensive eye exam, by your optometrist, ensures optimal vision, eye health and peace of mind.

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