Dr. Arman Farr talks with icyou about the eye problems diabetics can experience.
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Dr. Arman Farr: Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the middle age group in this country. It causes pumps with the little blood vessels in the body. Many people know about kidney problems because the little blood vessels that are affected by diabetes and kidneys or maybe the neuropathy, someone would have problems with their hands and feet and may lose a limb to diabetes, because the blood vessels around the nerves are affected. But the little blood vessels in your eyes are also affected and that's why it's such a major cause of blindness. It causes bleeding in the eye, it causes the blood vessels to leak, and then these folks can get bleeding inside the retina, the thin film that lines the back of the eye, can be pulled off because of the blood and lead to blindness. Question: Have you seen an increased number of cases in your practice? Dr. Arman Farr: I don't know I've seen cases increase but it still remains a huge problem. In my practice, it accounts for about 40% of the patients I see, it's - and what's most important about getting out and trying to make people aware of it is that we need good glucose control; a lot of it can be reduced, and also by getting timely eye exams. People with diabetes should have eye exams at least annually because most of what we deal with can be more or less prevented by laser treatment ahead of time. That's what really kills me sometimes folks, you know they've been diabetic for years and years and they walk in, they are blind because they never went to see an eye doctor, and now the horse is out of the --. I have to actually operate and try to bring something back that has been severely damaged. Your eye doctor will direct your eyes; that's an important thing. You have to direct your eyes so they can see the back of it; that's where the damage is done and tell you how it's looking, they might -- you might have fused passive blood of maybe a little bit of swelling but they may then increase the frequency of the eye examinations of six months, maybe even three or four months, depending on what is going on back there. Once the symptoms show up, it's almost - it's not too late but it's almost too late because what happens a lot of times, people ignore, ignore because they are doing fine and then they start seeing little thing floating around or they see shadow coming around. That's blood in the eye. Or they notice the vision is not as good, that's swelling in the eye, swelling of the retina, the macula, the very central part of the retina. That's why it's important to just make it as part of your regular health -- with your diabetes. So going to the dentist every six month, you go to the eye doctor every year and get your eye exam because if you catch it early and you do preventative laser, then you don't -- hopefully you won't get the bleeding and you won't get the severe swelling that causes blindness.