Important Alerts
Office and Urgent Care Closures

Cardiology-Jersey City is temporarily closed, while Cardiology-Newark is closed permanently.

The Croton-on-Hudson lab, the Mahopac lab, the Patterson lab and the Poughkeepsie Women’s Health Center Lab are temporarily closed until February 29, 2024.

Updates

 

Effective Tuesday, February, 20 2024 changes have been made to the New York flu clinic hours and locations. Please check the webpage for the most up-to-date information.  

Recording/Photography Not Permitted on Premises

COVID-19 Information and Updates

The new COVID-19 vaccine is available at our clinics.

Please note available supply below:

– Supply is limited as we receive weekly deliveries.
– Moderna is available for children and adults (ages 6 months and up)

View all
Health Conditions

How diabetes can affect your eyes

15 June, 2023
Produced by:
$author_name
Optum Medical Care, P.C.
How diabetes can affect your eyes

Clinically reviewed by: Optum National Clinical Review Team

Diabetes affects more than 37.3 million Americans, which amounts to 11.3% of the U.S. population.[1],[2] For people with diabetes, the body cannot produce enough insulin or it can’t properly use it, leading to a buildup of blood sugar.[3] The resulting high glucose levels can affect the tiny blood vessels in the body, damaging the eyes as well. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 18–64 years.[4]

Diabetes can significantly affect your vision leading to various eye diseases such as:

  • Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the retina, which is similar to the wallpaper lining the inside of your eye. Diabetes can cause the retina to leak blood or form abnormal vessels.[5]
  • Glaucoma occurs from an increased pressure inside your eye which can damage the optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to peripheral, or side vision loss.[6]
  • Cataract is caused by opacification or clouding of the lens of the eye. Oftentimes, patients have blurred vision, and difficulty seeing both near and far. Some report a glare or see haloes around lights.[7]

What you can expect at a comprehensive eye exam

During an assessment, your doctor will measure your vision, test your eye pressure and examine your eyes including your retina with a “slit lamp” to detect any small abnormalities. Your doctor will administer drops to dilate your pupils, and check for fluid buildup, bleeding or abnormal blood vessels characteristic of diabetic retinopathy. (In some cases, they may also use further imaging, like Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), fluorescein angiography or fundus photography.) Finally, your doctor will examine the eye lens for cataract and assess the optic nerve for any glaucoma-related changes.

Your vision will be blurry after the dilation process. You will also be sensitive to light until your pupils resume their original size. So, in addition to having someone drive you home, we’d recommend bringing sunglasses to lessen the glare.

Prevention

While there is no cure once you have diabetes, there are ways you can help prevent diabetic eye disease. For instance, you can take steps to manage your blood sugar, blood pressure and lipids through diet and exercise. Be sure to talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level. Ask about the amounts and types of activities that may be best for you.

Your primary doctor will check your hemoglobin A1C test periodically to gauge glucose control over the previous three months. Monitoring your blood sugar levels will help you know whether your diet, exercise and medical programs are working for you. Properly managing your blood sugar can help decrease your likelihood of having complications from diabetes. Be sure to discuss with your doctor how often to have a comprehensive eye exam and other screening tests to help manage your diabetes and reduce your risk for diabetic complications.

If you have diabetes and are concerned about the health of your eyes, schedule an appointment with one of our specialized endocrinologists today.

[1]National Diabetes Statistics Report. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/index.html. Last reviewed June 29, 2022. Accessed November 3, 2022.
[2] Diabetes Statistics. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/diabetes-statistics. Last updated February 2023. Accessed April 12, 2023.
[3] What is Diabetes? https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html. Last reviewed April 24, 2023. Accessed May 11, 2023.
[4] Coexisting Conditions and Complications. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/coexisting-conditions-complications.html. Last reviewed September 30, 2022. Accessed April 12, 2023.
[5] American Academy of Ophthalmology. Diabetic Retinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-diabetic-retinopathy. Accessed May 6, 2021.
[6] American Academy of Ophthalmology. What Is Glaucoma? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma. Accessed May 6, 2021.
[7] American Academy of Ophthalmology. What Are Cataracts? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts. Accessed May 6, 2021.

 

Related articles
It’s time to talk about the importance of cervical health

Cervical cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in women around the world, and in the United States, it was once the most common cause of death.

Read article
Not just your regular holiday blues – diabetes and depression often seen together

As the holidays approach, and the season’s expectations and demands draw near, it is not uncommon for some, especially older adults, to catch a case of the “holiday blues.” But it’s important to know when it’s more than just the “blues” and how other conditions, like diabetes, can be linked with depression.1

Read article
What you should know about GERD

If you’re someone who experiences heartburn, you know the signs: a harsh, burning feeling in your chest usually after eating a large meal, spicy food or when you’re lying down. Frequent, persistent heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and an estimated 20% of the population is living with it.

Read article
What you should know about AFib

In medicine, AFib is not an exaggeration of the truth. Rather, it is an abbreviation for atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia — or abnormal heart rhythm. AFib results from disorganization of the heart’s electricity that can cause an irregular heartbeat. Many people are not aware the condition has serious consequences such as an estimated four- to five-fold increased risk of ischemic stroke.

Read article