November 14th is World Diabetes Day, a day dedicated to global recognition of diabetes and how it affects everyone. It is a safe bet that virtually everyone in Canada has heard of, and likely knows someone who is living with diabetes. Currently, there are nearly 11 million people living with either diabetes or prediabetes, a disease that causes the body to either fail to produce insulin, or makes it incapable of using it. Since insulin helps the body control blood sugar, people with diabetes suffer from high blood sugar levels. You may be aware that high blood sugar can damage your body’s organs, but were you aware that your eyes were included in the potential damage?
March is National Nutrition Month, a very good time to discuss the effect of diet on your vision. The average rabbit can tell you about the importance of carrots for your eyesight, but what other foods can help?
Aging and Eye Disease
We all know that as we get older, our bodies wear down and need more maintenance and upkeep. The same is true for our eyes. Some common eye diseases that are related to getting older are: Cataracts, Diabetic Retinopathy, Dry Eye Syndrome, Glaucoma, and Macular Degeneration. Many of these age related conditions can be avoided or controlled by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, not smoking, getting regular exercise, and eating healthy. But what is a good diet to maintain eye health?
Smoking is bad for you. Yes, I know, you’ve heard it all before. All those warnings about how smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and heart disease. How even second hand smoke can have a negative effect on your health. But just in case you haven’t received enough reasons to kick the habit yet, here is one more. Did you know that smoking can also affect your eyesight?
Smoking and Cataracts
Diabetes can seriously affect your visual system, but early signs of diabetes can be first detected in a Comprehensive Eye Exam performed by an Optometrist.
Diabetes can cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, and an inability to focus on objects that are close. Diabetes can result in cataracts, glaucoma, decreased corneal sensitivity, and paralysis of the nerves that control the pupil and the eye muscles. Diabetes can fluctuate or blur your vision, cause periodic double vision, and you can lose your visual field. The most serious visual problem associated diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.
In Canada there are approximately 3 million people living with diabetes and type 2, the most common, accounts for 90% of all cases.
This chronic disease can complicate your vision and all the parts surrounding your eye. Your symptoms would be blurry vision, or flashes within the eyes but these symptoms can be detected in a comprehensive eye exam, which should be completed on an annual basis.
If you think you are experiencing these symptoms we would like to remind you to regularly schedule annual eye exams, not only for yourself but for your children. A comprehensive eye exam will look for functionality and focus, and overall eye health.