Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects how your body processes insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body control the amount of glucose or sugar in the blood. There are two types of diabetes. In Type I, your body is unable to produce enough insulin while in Type II, your body is unable to use the insulin that the body produces. In both types, when there is too much insulin in the blood, it affects blood vessels and can lead to issues all over the body. It can cause damage to your kidneys, nerves, heart, feet and most importantly to your optometrist, your EYES!
Signs of diabetes can begin to show up in the back of the eye, called Diabetic Retinopathy. The retina is the part of the body that detects light, allowing you to see. Diabetes has been associated with retinal detachments and cataracts. Some signs that might arise from diabetes are hemorrhages, cotton wool spots, swelling, and neovascularization (new blood vessel growth). Some patients at early stages might have no symptoms at all, but if left unchecked, could potentially lead to blindness.
Diabetic patients are recommended to get annual dilated eye exams to assess and treat any potential signs.