Glaucoma and Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Glaucoma and Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Life with diabetes complicates things. And, unfortunately, it puts us at risk for further serious conditions. For the eyes, diabetes increases the likelihood of developing complications such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Wondering what glaucoma and diabetes could mean for you? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Glaucoma?

Several conditions fall under the umbrella of what is known as “glaucoma.” Essentially, glaucoma is a collection of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss. Damage to the optic nerve largely derives from excessively high eye pressure.

Most common in older generations, glaucoma can lead to blindness, especially for those over the age of 60. Many kinds of glaucoma fail to show any warning signs. Furthering the issue, vision loss due to glaucoma can’t be regained. Regular eye exams can serve as a first defense for glaucoma, detecting the condition in its early stages.

Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma

We know that glaucoma and diabetes carry some links. For example, type 2 diabetes puts you at risk for developing primary open-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma causes patchy vision in the periphery or center of the eyes—and tunnel vision in later stages. Treatment aims at lowering eye pressure through medications, laser, or surgery.

Neovascular Glaucoma

Akin to primary open-angle glaucoma, people living with diabetes are at a greater risk for developing neovascular glaucoma. This glaucoma arises from a severe form of diabetic retinopathy where new blood vessels spread on the iris and the trabecular meshwork. Scars that block vision emerge. Treatment targets the diabetic retinopathy, through a combination of laser and medication injections.

Steroid-Induced Glaucoma

Steroid-induced glaucoma serves as the final most common glaucoma and diabetes complication. This type of glaucoma results from steroid eye drops or injections that sought to counteract fluids accumulating in the retina. A balance of medications must sometimes be struck to improve vision and keep eye pressure down.

Summary

Glaucoma, like many eye conditions, is best addressed early. Prevention can include routine eye exams, monitoring your blood sugar levels, and relaying that information to eye care professionals during checkups.

If you’re living with diabetes, contact our eye care specialists at Mississippi Eye Care. Combined, we have over 150 years of practice experience. Visit our website to learn more, contact your local eye care location, and schedule an appointment. For more on eye care and complications, keep following our blog.