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A Closer Look at Diabetic Eye Disease

Unfortunately, diabetes is extremely common. A lot of people aren't aware of how just much it can affect sufferers. For instance, diabetes can easily lead to developing quite a few eye-related diseases. Generally, these include cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and also a number of other conditions that can still worsen your vision.

Diabetic retinopathy, which occurs as a result of high blood glucose levels causing damage to the blood vessels in the retina. It's also a very common cause of blindness in adults.

While cataracts, which lead to vision impairment, are a common result of aging, a lot of people don't know that diabetes patients are likely to develop these at an younger age.

People with diabetes have double the odds of developing glaucoma, sometimes referred to as the silent thief of sight, which is a serious, sight-threatening condition. This disease is characterized by optic nerve damage, and this can lead to loss of vision. If this goes untreated, the vision loss can lead to blindness.

All diabetes sufferers, regardless of whether they have type 1 or type 2, have an increased risk of developing diabetic eye disease, especially if their diabetes isn't adequately treated. Additional risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking.

Symptoms of diabetic eye diseases usually vary when blood sugar levels do. These generally include:

  • Double vision
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision and blind spots
  • Seeing floaters, or shadow in the field of view
  • Trouble with near vision
  • Corneal abrasions

It is essential to note that the onset of diabetic eye disease can occur before symptoms are apparent.

Early detection can often mean the difference between keeping and losing sight, and is usually a prerequisite for avoiding subsequent deterioration of vision and recovery of sight, if possible. Because of this, diabetes patients are strongly encouraged to have an annual eye exam to keep tabs on the health of their eyes. If you suffer from diabetes, it's so important to be sure you are educated about diabetic eye disease. Annual eye exams, coupled with positive lifestyle choices, can make the difference between a world of sight and a world of darkness.

Thank you for trusting your eyecare with us over the years.  The Foresight Eyecare team follows the government mandate to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  After December 2020 announcements made by the Alberta Government, our clinic is following the revised Infection Prevention and Control policy by the Alberta College of Optometrists.

Patients interested in obtaining eye exam services or eye care products can be seen by appointment only.  Please call ahead, and staff will arrange an appointment time and ask COVID-19 screening questions.  If you have any symptoms of cough, fever, runny nose or shortness of breath, we ask that you call or e-mail us and do not attend the clinic for your scheduled visit.   Within the clinic, please wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer at reception.  Our clinic complies with the City of Calgary bylaw requiring mask covering over the age of two years old.  For patients who are unable to wear a face covering due to medical reasons, the patient can be scheduled for an appointment at a time when minimal number of other patients are in the clinic such as at the beginning or end of the day to ensure appropriate physical distancing requirements.

We are using disposable disinfectant wipes on all surfaces and devices such as front desk counters, chairs, handles in exam rooms and waiting room.  All eyewear that have been touched by patients are continually being sanitized.   Any toys and magazines are stored at this time.  Examination areas are being sanitized with hospital grade disinfectant.  Debit and credit cards but NO CASH payments will be accepted.

COVID-19 symptoms are not always obvious.  We want to fend off this pandemic and minimize risk to our patients and the Foresight staff as front line health workers.   Contact that is closer than 2 m (6 feet) is to be avoided, with barriers in place when this cannot be avoided. We choose to continue to do our work and cautiously take care of our patients with compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience.   It is a challenging and new experience for many of us, so let‘s support each other and prevent virus spread!  Beyond 2020, our focus is on take care of you and keeping Clean Hands, Clear Heads and Open Hearts.   For more information, please refer to the following web pages or phone Health Link 811.

Drs. Dianna Leong, Anh Bui, Andrew Chan