How can diabetes affect your eyes and what can you do about it?

the diabetes It has become a public health problem in the world. In Peru, about 1.4 million people older than 15 suffer from this disease, according to figures from the Ministry of Health (Minsa). Lima, Arequipa and Piura present more cases because of the more modern lifestyle and access to processed products.

This disease is caused by increased levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Since it is diagnosed, it is important that the patient maintains sufficient control because it can affect other organs such as the eyes, kidneys and brain. This was explained by Dr. Héctor Palacios, specialist at Ophthalmic Clinic of the Vision.

"Diabetes immediately damages the eyes and affects different parts of this organbut to a greater extent for the retina. The lesion in this layer generates diabetic retinopathy, ocular condition that occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels of the retina, "he said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1% of the world's leading causes of visual disability are generated by diabetic retinopathy.


Diabetic retinopathy presents as initial symptoms slight lesions in the blood vessels of the retina, microaneurysms, microhemorrhages and even inflammation of the macula, the central part of the retina that makes it possible to read and see details. On the other hand, in more advanced cases, the body creates new blood vessels when it tries to deliver blood. However, these are abnormal and do not provide the correct blood flow.

In addition, the disease can be caused by type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is caused by a problem in the immune system, while type 2 develops at any time of the patient's life and its appearance is related to eating habits and lifestyle.

What to do?

Palacios explained that the treatment for this disease is surgery. Currently there are two procedures: laser photocoagulation (which destroys the abnormal structures of the retina) and vitrectomy (a technique that removes the vitreous, transparent gel that fills the eye cavity).

In addition, there are medicines that prevent the formation of abnormal blood vessels, which are administered by intravitreal injections (in the eye). If patients are examined in time and follow the standard treatment guidelines, less than 5% of diabetics will develop a serious loss of vision.

The specialist recommended that diabetic patients have periodic monitoring with their endocrinologist. He also said that it is important to have frequent exams, according to what the specialist indicates. Finally, he proposes choosing a balanced diet, using and avoiding alcoholic beverages. (Andes)