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Diabetes Information from Biddeford, Maine

Diabetes can affect vision in the following ways:
  • Cataract: A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts, and at a younger age, than people without diabetes. Cataracts are removed with surgery.
  • Glaucoma: This is a disease of high pressure within the eye that damages the optic nerve. In its early stages, glaucoma has no symptoms, and if not controlled, can result in blindness. Doctors are not sure why, but glaucoma is more prevalent among people with diabetes. Glaucoma is treated with medication and, in some cases, surgery.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: This is the most serious eye disease caused by diabetes, and the most common. High blood sugar levels can cause changes in the body's blood vessels. When small blood vessels in the retina (the light sensing layer at the back of the eye) are affected, they can leak or grow abnormally.
Eye Care in Biddeford, ME - Dr. Robert Wescot
This can cause vision to become blurred, distorted or partially blocked. If the leaking or growth is not stopped early enough, blindness can result. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chance you will develop diabetic retinopathy. People who developed diabetes as children (Type I diabetes) are at greater risk than those who develop it as adults (Type II diabetes).
An ophthalmologist looks for diabetic retinopathy by enlarging (dilating) your pupils. This allows him or her to examine the inside of your eye to check for signs of the disease. The best time to treat diabetic retinopathy is before symptoms occur. If you wait until you know something is wrong, it might be too late to restore lost vision.

Laser Treatment

Anyone with diabetes knows that control is important. The best way to control diabetic eye disease is to find and treat it early, before it causes vision loss or blindness. So, if you or someone you know has diabetes, remember: have a complete medical eye exam at least once a year.
Laser surgery is often used to treat diabetic retinopathy. A strong, narrow beam of light is precisely focused on the retina; the heat of the laser seals the leaking blood vessels and reduces the abnormal blood vessel growth. This treatment, called photocoagulation, does not require an incision and may be performed in the ophthalmologist's office.
Eye Care in Biddeford, ME - Dr. Robert Wescot