Monthly Archives: July 2013

Put “I-care” into diabetes eyecare

What people with diabetes need is eyecare – and that really means “I care”. You can do a lot when it comes to early detection of eye problems and getting the right treatment.

Diabetes is a condition that can harm the eyes. It can damage the small blood vessels in the retina. This is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes can also increase risk of glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems.


Regular eye examination

You may not realize the damage to your eyes until the problem is very bad. Regular eye examination can catch the problem early and enable timely medication. Eye examinations should be undertaken at least once a year. Choose an eye doctor who also takes care of people with diabetes.

What the eye examination involves:
* Dilating the eyes to allow a good view of the entire retina. This can only be done by an eye doctor.
* Specific photographs of the back of the eye – which may sometimes be required.

Preventing eye problems

Diabetics can largely prevent eye problems if you follow these few simple steps.

Control blood sugar levels.  High blood sugar increases the risk of eye problems.
Control blood pressure. Blood pressure less than 130/180 is a good goal for people with diabetes. Check your blood pressure often, usually at the same time of day. Make sure you take any prescribed drugs to control blood pressure.

Quit smoking  Smoking is particularly dangerous  if you have diabetes. Quit now. Get help quitting if you can’t do it on your own.
Check before exercising  It’s best to find out if you should avoid some exercises that could strain blood vessels. These might include weight lifting and high impact sports.
Eye-care at home   
* If you cannot read the labels on medicine bottles easily, use a felt-tip pen to label bottles.
* Use rubber bands/clips to tell medicines apart.
* Ask someone else to give you your medicines.
* Read labels with a magnifying glass.

* Use a pill box with compartments for days of the week and times of day.

* Get large-font printouts of instructions and diet plans for diabetic meals.

• You cannot see well in dim light
• You have blind spots

• You have double vision (see two things when there’s only one)

• Vision is hazy or blurry and you can’t focus
• You have frequent headaches
• You see spots floating in your eyes
• You cannot see things on the side of your field of vision
• You see shadows
Your eyes are precious and delicate. The right care at the right time is essential to avoid eye problems specially if you are diabetic.

Monsoon care for eyes

The monsoons bring with them a host of infections, specially those that affect the eyes and cause pain and discomfort.
The main problems that can be aggravated in the monsoons are:
• Conjunctivitis
• Eye Styes
• Dry Eyes
• Corneal ulcers
Let’s look at each of these conditions.

  

Conjunctivitis The conjunctiva is the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and the eye surface. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva and is characterized by swelling and redness. Conjunctivitis can be treated by medicine. Wearing dark glasses keeps your eyes cool and prevents immediate contact of the hands and eyes, which can spread the contagious infection faster.
Dry eyes Eyes need a constant flow of tears for moisturizing and lubrication to sustain vision. An imbalance in tear flow can cause dry eyes, lead to irritation, pain and blurring of vision. Treatment ranges from artificial tear drops to punctual occlusion and sometimes even surgery.
Eye styes Styes cause a painful lump along the eyelid. They are caused by bacterial infection and are rampant during the monsoons. They can be treated at home with wet and warm compresses and in case of increased irritation, medication.
Corneal ulcers The cornea is the thin clear structure overlying the iris. Severe infection of the cornea, characterized by open sores, is corneal ulcer. Its  symptoms are pus dischange, severe pain and blurring of vision. It could be caused by viral, bacterial or fungal infection . It could even be caused by tears resulting from trauma. Consulting an ophthalmologist immediately is advised.
How to prevent infections during the monsoons

• It is important to wash your hands frequently after touching   the eyes and face.
• Keep an anti-bacterial lotion handy while outdoors.

• Discontinue use of contact lenses when you have infection. Make sure you clean the lens thoroughly before  putting them back on.
• Do not share contact lens solution or container.

• Do not share eye medication.

• Do not share towels and handkerchiefs as they can transfer infection.

• Do not use eye make-up when you have an eye infection. Replace old make-up products.

• Use eye protection when exposed to direct wind, heat or cold.
• Wear gloves when administering eye medication to someone else.
• Use safety glasses when working with chemicals.
Get an umbrella of protection for your eyes specially during the monsoons.