Diabetes with complications: How people can protect their eyes
Diabetes can result in numerous complications. Among other things, eye diseases that can lead to blindness. Experts explain what can be done if the eyes are already damaged and also how those affected can protect their eyesight in advance.
Diabetes can result in numerous complications
Around seven million people with diabetes live in Germany. The disease not only has a serious impact on the metabolism, but can also lead to numerous secondary diseases. Diabetes often causes diseases of the cardiovascular system over time. The nervous system is also affected. The supplying nerves of the feet are particularly often damaged, which can lead to the person affected developing a so-called diabetic foot. Eye disorders that can lead to blindness are also typical complications of diabetes. Experts explain what can be done about the latter.
Most common cause of blindness
As the University Medical Center Freiburg wrote in a statement, damage to the blood vessels in the retina of the eye is one of the dreaded complications of diabetes mellitus.
Doctors use the technical term of diabetic retinopathy for this. The consequences are bleeding and circulatory disorders in the eye or the storage of fluid in the macula, the so-called diabetic macular edema.
According to the experts, 21.7 percent of all diabetics in Germany suffer from diabetic retinopathy. The retinal damage is always symptom-free at the beginning and can lead to blindness in the course.
About 11 percent of all cases of blindness in Germany are due to diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is still one of the most common causes of blindness in Europe.
Better treatment success through early diagnosis
"If symptoms occur, there is usually advanced retinal damage," explains Professor Dr. Thomas Reinhard, Medical Director of the Ophthalmology Clinic at Freiburg University Hospital.
"For this reason, an early diagnosis is important if the patients have no visual impairment and the therapy outlook is good," the doctor continued.
As the message says, laser treatment can slow the disease down or stop it. Injections of active substances into the eye have become established in recent years as a therapeutic method for diabetic macular edema.
What affected people can do themselves
According to the experts, sufferers themselves can do a lot to protect their eyesight:
People with diabetes should pay attention to good blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as a healthy lifestyle and not smoke if possible.
Those who are overweight should lose weight. "It is also very important for all diabetics to have an annual check-up at the ophthalmologist," says Professor Reinhard. (ad)