Does Having Uncontrolled Type II Diabetes Affect Glaucoma?

Does Blood Sugar Affect Your Eye Health

Type II diabetes is an unrelenting disease that can have a number of repercussions on the eye. In fact, diabetes is a primary risk factor for the eye disease glaucoma. As a result, diabetic patients should learn to control blood sugar and see an eye specialist often to avoid problems.

What does glaucoma mean for me?

The eye continuously recycles the fluid, known as aqueous humor, that gives the eye a spherical shape. Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that typically results when the aqueous humor’s drainage channels become blocked. This results in an increase in pressure inside the eye. This pressure can then damage the optic nerve, which is the highway that sends images to the brain. This damage often results in permanent vision loss.

Glaucoma angles

The most common form of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma rarely has symptoms associated with it until damage begins to happen. This damage can often lead to patchy blind spots in vision that can be permanent. To make matters worse, people with diabetes get glaucoma twice as often as individuals without the disease.

Aren’t new blood vessels a good thing?

Diabetes can cause a lack of oxygen to parts of the eye. The body tries to compensate for lack of oxygen by forming new blood vessels in areas that blood vessels don’t belong. These blood vessels can even end up in places like the iris or the colored part of the eye. From there, blood vessels can even branch into the eye’s drainage channels, blocking the eye’s ability to drain aqueous humor. The disease known as neovascular glaucoma is the result. Like some other forms of the disease, neovascular glaucoma can lead to a number of issues. These issues include extreme pain in and around the eye, headaches, nausea, vomiting, decreased or blurry vision, and vision loss.

Keeping glaucoma at bay

Controlling diabetes goes a long way towards preventing damage to the eye. Whether a patient’s diabetes is regulated or not, regular eye visits are with an ophthalmologist are just as important. The eye doctor can keep tabs on blood vessels and eye pressure and treat them accordingly.

Preventing unwanted blood vessels

In order to stop the spread of unwanted blood vessels, an eye surgeon can use a laser and injections. These two treatments can reduce and remove blood vessels, allowing aqueous humor to flow more regularly. To keep eye pressure in a safe range, the healthcare specialist can use eye medications to bring the pressure back down. If medications are not enough, a laser procedure or surgery may be required to open a new drainage channel. This will allow the aqueous humor to flow properly once again.