They say the eyes are the gateway to the soul; the truth of that might be left to philosophers and poets, but I can tell you with certainty that the eyes are the gateway to understanding more about the physiology of an individual. While that’s a less flowery statement, it does mean you should visit your Winnipeg optometrist regularly. One of the most important reasons to do this is diabetes prevention and maintenance; an optometrist can tell you a lot about how much the disease is affecting you.

Pre-Diabetic Diagnosis

Comprehensive eye exams are a great preventive tool in the fight against diabetes. The Canadian Association of Optometrists notes that diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada, and that regular eye exams can help you catch diabetes in its earliest stages, be it Type 1 or Type 2. These exams can also help you monitor the progression of diabetes, and make sure it’s being managed properly. They can do this because they have tools that allow them to monitor the optic nerve and blood vessels in the eye, both of which can have indicators of potential health problems.

Diabetic Retinopathy

The biggest risk that diabetes has to your eyes is a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. When you have diabetes, the blood vessels in your eyes may weaken or swell; in either case, this can cause lasting damage to the eye. There are a lot of worrisome signs that you might have the condition: loss of central vision, the inability to see colour, or sudden bright flashes of light.

Your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases the longer your diabetes goes unchecked; uncontrolled blood sugar for a prolonged period of time can cause serious problems for your eyes.

Comorbidity

Diabetes isn’t just linked to diabetic retinopathy; there’s a wide variety of conditions that can occur as a result of diabetes. Glaucoma rates may be higher in people with diabetes; diabetes is also often coupled with high blood pressure, which can increase the likeliness of developing glaucoma. Excess blood sugar may result in cataracts. Diabetes can also cause macular edema, a condition in which fluid builds up in the retina. In short, there are a lot of problems that are caused by diabetes, and most of them compound upon each other.

One of the key concepts to understand in medicine is comorbidity – the idea that one disease can bring about the onset of other diseases. Those diseases can, in turn, exacerbate the existing disease or bring on totally new conditions. That’s why proper management of your diabetes is so important, and why catching diabetes early is essential to your long-term health.