Eyeing Hypertension and Finding Diabetes mellitus By Dr.Ukandu Rightway OD, MSPH (in view), MNOA

Eyeing Hypertension and Finding Diabetes mellitus By Dr.Ukandu Rightway OD, MSPH (in view), MNOA

The eye is a very vital organ in the body and can be very revealing of several systemic diseases. Diseases like Hypertension and Diabetes mellitus have been diagnosed, reviewed and referred for management by just looking into the eyes by an eye doctor.

It is well known that non communicable diseases are on the rise and are responsible for over 71% deaths globally every year. High blood pressure and high blood sugar levels are both risk factors in noncommunicable diseases.

Eyeing hypertension

High blood pressure literally means raised blood pressure, a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure or the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high.

Due to the delicate blood vessels in the eye, high blood pressure can damage them easily. The damage of the delicate blood vessels supplying the light sensitive part of the eye (retina) due to high blood pressure can lead to bleeding in the eyes, partial loss of vision and even complete loss of vision. Damage to the retina is called Retinopathy.

Hypertensive Retinopathy

It is difficult to notice symptoms of Hypertensive Retinopathy. Symptoms usually develop later in the disease but can be identified early by your eye doctor and early initiation of treatment, management or referral would commence averting possible blindness.

Managing Hypertensive Retinopathy is primarily controlled by managing hypertension including other possible treatment and management options. With regular eye check annually by your eye doctor, avoidable blindness or visual impairment can be completely prevented.

Finding Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a health disorder characterized by high blood sugar. Here the body does not produce enough or respond normally to insulin causing blood sugar levels to be abnormally high.

The eye is seriously affected by Diabetes M. A lot of serious eye conditions like Diabetic Cataract, macular edema, diabetic retinopathy and even glaucoma can result directly or indirectly from having Diabetes M.

Diabetes M. can damage the eyes leading to poor vision or even blindness but this can be prevented. Diabetic eye diseases can be prevented or kept from getting worse by taking good care (managing) of your diabetes and your eye.

Basically, High glucose can change fluid levels or cause swelling in the tissues of your eyes that help you to focus, causing blurred vision; This blurred vision is usually temporary and goes away when your glucose level gets to normal.

In Diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels become weak and leak fluids into the retina leading to blurry vision; left unmanaged, new blood vessels emerge which can cause high intraocular pressure or lead to other serious conditions. Diabetes M. can also lead to swelling of the macula leading to Diabetic macula edema and partial loss of vision.

Those with diabetes M. have higher likelihood of developing Cataract and Cataract is the number one cause of preventable blindness in the world. With Diabetes M. unmanaged, clear lens of the eye possibly starts becoming cloudy or completely cloudy (Cataract), leading to partial or complete loss of vision.

Solution to Diabetic eye diseases

Diabetic eye diseases being a group of diseases (diabetic macula edema, Cataract, Diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma) that affect people with diabetes, can be managed or completely prevented by managing high blood sugar and having proper eye care. Healthy diets, regular blood sugar checks and physical exercises are way to support high blood sugar management. Most importantly, your eye doctor can help with early detection of these conditions and recommendation of proper treatment, management and referrals, eliminating the possibility of partial or complete blindness.

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