Diabetic retinopathy is the most common complication of diabetes that affects the eyes and affects over 5.3 million Americans, 18 years old or older.
Diabetic retinopathy can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer that one has diabetes and the less controlled their blood sugar is, the higher they are at risk.
Patients with diabetes can prevent or slow the progress of diabetic retinopathy by taking prescribed medication to help maintain a healthy diet, exercising regularly, controlling high blood pressure and abnormal blood cholesterol levels, and avoiding alcohol and smoking.
If the disease does develop, significant vision loss can be avoided by monitoring aggressive blood sugar, pressure and cholesterol control. In addition, newer medications for retinopathy have recently been shown to be very effective for preserving, and sometimes improving vision.
There are several factors that can influences someone with diabetes to develop diabetic retinopathy. These include poor blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipid control, the length of time they’ve had diabetes, race and family history.
African Americans and Hispanics are twice as likely to have diabetes.
If you have diabetes, see your eye doctor for a yearly-dilated eye exam — even if your vision seems fine — because it’s important to detect diabetic retinopathy in the early stages.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness for Americans.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2,500 Americans become blind from complications of diabetes. About half of the nation’s estimated 16 million people show at least some signs of early diabetic retinopathy.
In diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels swell and begin to leak fluid into the retina. In some cases, abnormal blood vessels grow onto the retina. These vessels can even bleed onto the tissue and cause the retina to detach.
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss/weight gain
- Increased hunger
- Lack of focus
- Numbness in the hands or feet
A group of eye problems can arise due to diabetes. Cataracts and glaucoma are only a couple of vision stealing side effects. If you have diabetes you may get cataracts at a younger age, and your chances of developing glaucoma doubles.
Although many people with diabetic retinopathy do not ever progress to the most serious form of the disease, frequent testing will help your doctor monitor the patient’s condition closely.
Since most people do not develop any visual impairment until the disease has progressed considerably, delaying an eye exam until symptoms occur can result in permanent loss of vision.
The month of October has brought out cool air, falling leaves and a few ghost and goblins! With Halloween approaching, safety seems to be the key component that parents are considering when planning out the night. Luckily, there is a lot we can do to prevent our Halloween night from turning into a disaster.
Typically parents and children should inspect all candy before eating and walk through their neighborhoods at night using flashlights and reflective clothing.
Another important area to consider on Halloween is eye safety.
Before selecting your holiday costume, take into consideration a few of these eye safety tips to ensure a fun, safe and spooktacular Halloween!
Avoid costumes that block vision
Masks, wigs and eye patches can help polish off a Halloween costume, but make sure they don’t obstruct your field of vision. Some masks can be very dangerous for children, because they block their side vision.
Use makeup and face paint properly
If you do decide to disguise your child’s face with makeup instead of a mask, opt for a hypoallergenic option and always check for FDA approval. Keep the makeup away from the eyes. It would be a good idea to keep a damp towel or washcloth in case makeup begins to run while out.
Don’t use sharp objects as props
Some costumes just don’t seem complete without a sword or wand. When choosing accessories for your child’s costume, make sure they are age appropriate and don’t pose any harm. It is best to avoid sharp, pointed props, all together.
Don’t use decorative contacts that were not prescribed by doctors
Buying any kind of contact lens without an examination and prescription from an eye care professional can be extremely dangerous. It can lead to serious eye disorders and infections, which can even lead to permanent vision loss.
It is also against federal law to sell contact lenses in an unlicensed outlet, such as a costume shop, party store and beauty supply stores. They may be made from inferior plastics or contain toxic dyes.
Carry a flashlight
Give your child a small flashlight to illuminate dark paths and walkways. In low light areas, your child will not be able to see potential hazards like uneven pavement or holes, which are tripping hazards. Flashlights will also make your child more visible to drivers.
It is also a good idea to keep porch and stairways clear and illuminated.
We hope these tips keep you safe during your Halloween adventures!
Our homes are relatively safe places to be, but sometimes accidents do happen. Whether it’s a botched do it yourself project or something as simple as working in your garden, mistakes are prone to occur.
Some common eye injuries, such as deep puncture wounds from accidents, could require immediate treatment or surgery to prevent any permanent damage to the eye that could result in vision loss.
Other injuries such as minor surface scratches may not be as serious.
Here is a guide to follow, to help you determine what to do next in the case that an accident to the eye may occur:
- Scratched Eye (Corneal Abrasion)
Some common causes of abrasions to the eye’s surface include getting poked or rubbing the eye when a foreign body is present, like dust or sand. This can cause red eyes and sensitivity to light.
If something has gotten into your eye, it is important to see your eye doctor or visit an ER.
Scratches to the eye make them more prone to infections from bacteria or fungi. Certain types can enter the eye through a scratch and cause serious harm very quickly.
If you have a scratch to the eye, do not rub it or patch your eye up. Simply keep the eye closed, see your doctor as soon a possible.
- Penetrating/ Foreign objects in the Eye
If a foreign object such as metal enters your eye, visit the ER or urgent care center immediately. You may cause even more harm to your eye, if you try to remove the object by yourself, or if you rub your eye.
- Chemical Burn to the Eye
Getting unexpectedly splashed in the eye by a substance other than clean water can be a very serious thing. Some substances, although they might burn or sting, can be fairly harmless, while others can cause extreme injuries.
Acid: Can cause redness and burning, but can be washed out easily.
Alkali: This is a much more serious case, but might not seem that way because they do not cause much immediate eye pain or redness like acids do.
Call your eye doctor or an emergency room/urgent care center to see what is recommended for your eye injury. Let them know exactly what kind of substance got into your eye, so they assist you on what steps to take next.
If your eye becomes extraordinarily red or blurry, head to your eye doctor immediately after you’ve rinsed it with water. You can put a cool, moist compress or an ice pack on your eye, but make sure you don’t rub it.
- Eye Swelling
Eye swelling and puffy eyelids can be the result of being struck in the eye by an object. The best, immediate treatment for this type of injury is an icepack to the eye.
Even though it may be something as simple as a black eye, you should see an eye doctor to make sure there’s no internal damage.
You might think your family home is a fairly safe and unthreatening place, what you didn’t know is that your home is a very common place to suffer from eye injuries! More than half of the reported eye injuries occur in the comfort of your own home!
Eye Injury Risk in the House
- Using hazardous products and chemicals such as oven cleaner and bleach for cleaning and other chores. (Accidents involving common household products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year).
- Splattering hot grease and oil while cooking.
- Opening champagne bottles during a celebration.
- Drilling or hammering nails into the walls or other hard surfaces ( the screws/nails can become projectiles or fragments can come off the surface.
- Using hot objects such as curling irons around the face.
- Loose rugs and railings that could potentially cause slips or falls.
Injury Risk in the Yard
- Mowing the lawn.
- Clipping hedges and bushes.
- Debris of dust or falling trees, branches.
Eye Injury Risks in the Garage or Workshop
- The use of tools (power or hand).
- Working with solvents or other chemicals.
- Ding any task that can produce fragments, dust particles or other eye irritants.
- Keep in mind, bystanders also face a significant risk and should also take part in the necessary precautions to prevent injuries to the eye.
Remember to always wear eye protection and use equipment in a safe manner.
Our eyes age just as the rest of our body does. It is crucial to take care of our eyes with the same persistence that we do with our mind and body.
1. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
These are two types of potent antioxidants that can be beneficial for eye diseases like macular degeneration.
Ward of eye problems by indulging in foods that are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, such as:
2. Whole Grains and Cereals
Sugars and refined white flours that are commonly found in breads and cereal may increase your risk of age-related eye diseases. Instead opt for 100 percent whole-grain breads and cereals that have lots of fiber, which actually slows down the digestion and absorption of sugars and starches. Fiber also keeps you feeling full, which makes it easier to limit the amount of calories you consume.
3. Avoid Sodium
High sodium intake may add to your risk of cataract formation. Use less salt, and look for sodium content on the labels of canned and packaged foods. Stay below 2,000 mg of sodium each day. Choose fresh over frozen foods whenever possible.
4. Stay Hydrated
This may seem obvious, but it is also extremely crucial in keeping your eyes healthy and working to their best ability. Proper hydration also may reduce irritation from dry eyes. Round out a healthy diet with low-fat dairy products such as skim or 1 percent milk for calcium, and healthy beverages such as 100% vegetable juices, fruit juices, non-caffeinated herbal teas and water. Proper hydration also may reduce irritation from dry eyes.
5. Choose Healthy Fats
The omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish, flaxseed oil, walnuts and canola oil help prevent dry eyes and even cataracts. Eat fish or seafood twice weekly, or take flax oil everyday.
This is the loss of ability to see objects close up, clearly. This includes small prints, as well. It is a normal process that happens slowly as you get older, but you will probably not notice a change in your vision until your 40s. Presbyopia can be corrected with reading glasses or contacts.
These are tiny specks or spots that float across your field of vision. Most people notice them while in a well-lit room or while outside. Floats are usually normal, but can sometimes indicate a more serious eye problem, such as retina detachment.
This happens when tears glands cannot make enough tears or they produce poor quality tears. Dry eyes can be uncomfortable, itchy, burning, redness and sometimes even some loss of vision.
These are cloudy areas that cover part or the entire lens inside the eye. When a cataract is present, light can’t pass through the lens easily, and this causes vision to be impaired. If a cataract becomes too thick, they can be removed by surgery.
This develops when there is too much fluid pressure inside the eye. If this is not treated early, it can cause blindness or vision loss.
As like any other part of your body, with time your eyes do get older. It is important to take care of your eyes to keep them young and fresh.
Here are a few simple ways to do just that:
Visit your eye care practitioner – comprehensive eye exams are recommended on a regular basis for adults and those who frequently use computers. For those 65 and older, as well as those with family history of eye disease, it is advised that you visit your eye care practitioner more frequently.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule – if you frequently use computers, be sure to take a 20 second break after every 20 minutes of use. Stare at something approximately 20 feet away – this will allow your eyes to relax.
Stay up to date on the normal aging process for your eyes – continuously monitor your health and be aware of the normal changes to your eyes that occur with age.
Protect your eyes from the sun! Spending too long in the sun without protection can damage your eyes by contributing to cataracts, macular degeneration and cancer.
There is nothing worse than getting a phone call from your child’s school informing you of an injury. Most of those injuries occur to the eye during gym class. This year, avoid those phone calls and send your child to gym class prepared!
In order to prevent injuries, children should wear the appropriate sports eye protectors that are made with polycarbonate lens for baseball, basketball, football, racquet sports, hockey, etc.
The eye protection needed to prevent eye injuries in your sport is determined by a few various standards that are set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
The eye-safety standards go by the following:
- ASTM F803: Eye protectors for selected sports (racket sports, women’s lacrosse field hockey, baseball, basketball)
- ASTM F513: Eye and face protective equipment for hockey players;
- ASTM F1776: Eye protectors for use by players of paintball sports;
- ASTM F1587: Head and face protective equipment for ice hockey goaltenders
- ASTM F910: Face guards for youth baseball
—- Prescription lenses can also be fitted into some types of sports eye protectors, as well.
Gym class is not the only time your children’s eyes could be at risk. Students are advised to always wear the appropriate protective glasses in shop class or while doing science labs. Talk to your child’s school to ensure the correct protective eyewear is being used.
It is estimated that 80% of education, nowadays, is taught visually. For children with sight problems, this could be a major issue. The inability to see clearly directly affects academic performance as well as a student’s self esteem.
Common signs of vision troubles in children include: frequently rubbing eyes, squinting, tilting or turning head to look at objects, wandering eyes, or squinting eyes.
If your child displays any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment to have their eyes checked. Many of these conditions, if diagnosed early, can be treated and vision can be restored. If the condition is not diagnosed until later in life, treatment will not be as effective.
Talk to your child’s teacher, as they are usually the first to detect these symptoms in the classroom.
The recommended pediatric eye Exam schedule for children are:
- First 12 months – Infants, particularly premature babies, should have an eye exam in the first 12 months.
- Age 2 or 3 years – Preschool is a critical time for learning.
Preschoolers should have an eye exam when they are old enough to understand and respond to the exam.
- Age 5 – Kindergarten is also a critical time for learning.
Kindergartners should have an eye exam before entering school.
- Children without identified vision problems should then have a comprehensive eye exam every two years.
- Children who wear glasses or who have other eye conditions should see the eye doctor at least annually, or more often, as recommended by the doctor.
If you or your child notice a change in their vision, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible.
It is recommended that your child has annual eye exams, to screen for any abnormal changes in vision.