Diabetes can wreak havoc on the eye and the foot. Proper care is necessary in order to refrain from any serious consequences. It can damage the blood vessels and the nerves of the feet resulting in numbness and permanent disability. Some of the alarming foot symptoms include bruises, cuts, cracked skin and hard spots. Some of the common measures that need to be taken for foot include checking the temperature sensation of the foot by immersing it in hot water, drying the feet gently in between the toes and using agents such as lotion, lanolin, and petroleum jelly.
Some of the other preventive measures include cutting the nails when they are young and straight to ensure no injury to the foot takes place. It should be ensured the toe is not touched by the nail of the toe. A pumice stone can be used to get rid of the corns immediately after a bath. No medicated pads or sharp razors should be utilised to cut corns. The feet should be soaked in warm water before trimming nails.
A shoe should be put on at all times to save the feet. The shoe sole should be thoroughly checked for foreign objects such as stones and nails to ensure that the foot is not hurt. Tight shoes should be strictly avoided in order to refrain from soreness and blisters. Dry and clean socks should be put up to ensure the foot is clean. For people living in a cold area, wearing thick socks should be practised. This will help the foot protect from cold. Finally, a doctor should be called in case there are any visible signs of swelling, redness, cracks, pain or sensation of burning.
Too much blood sugar can cause harm to the eye in four ways: It can cause damage to the retina, lens, optic nerve and vitreous gel. There could be serious repercussions of diabetes to the eye including low vision and complete loss of vision. Diabetes blocks the retina and is capable of cutting off the total supply of oxygen.
Some of the common symptoms of retina related problems include double vision, pressure in one eye, problems in corner vision, flashing lights, pain in the eye, blank spots etc. A simple check-up by an oculist can reveal any eye problems related to diabetes.
An ophthalmologist can treat the diabetes-related eye problem by medicine that blocks the protein responsible for fluid leakage and blood vessel growth. He can also go for laser treatment to treat macular edema. Even scatter laser treatments are also used for this purpose. If all else fails a doctor chooses to perform a procedure known as vitrectomy.
Your eyes are responsible for presenting the world to you, right from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. In fact, your eyes deliver 80% of the information you take in each day. Therefore, it is important that you keep them safe and healthy.
However, most vision problems develop from early childhood, usually between the age of 2.5 years and 4 years. The most common ones are-
• A wandering eye/crossed eye - Misalignment of the eyes
• Farsightedness - Nearby objects appear blurry
• Nearsightedness/Myopia - Faraway objects appear blurry
• Astigmatism - An imperfection in the curvature of the eye
Quite a few vision problems emerge as you age. These common eye conditions may significantly affect your eyes and eyesight once you near the age of 60 -
• Age-related Macular Degeneration or AMD - Loss of vision
• Glaucoma - The connecting nerve from the eye to the brain is damaged (can lead to blindness)
• Diabetic retinopathy - A diabetic complication affecting the eyes
In the year 2002, over 161 million people across the world were reported visually impaired. 124 million people out of these 161 million had poor vision, while 37 million people were blind. Considering these shocking figures, it has become crucial to spread awareness and inform the readers about the importance of vision screenings regularly.
Since February is the Low Vision Awareness Month, we are here to talk about low or poor vision- what it means, how to detect and correct the problem early in life.
What is Low or Poor Vision?
‘Low vision’ or poor vision refers to a significant visual impairment that cannot be rectified with medicine, standard glasses, eye surgery, or contact lenses. People with visual acuity ranging between 20/200 and 70/200 or 6/18 and 6/60 in the better eye, are said to have poor vision.
A number of factors can cause low vision, such as an eye injury, an infection or a disease. Sometimes, the cause can also be hereditary.
The following can be a warning sign that something might be seriously wrong with your vision-
Why early detection is important?
If you encounter the above signs or observe the same in your loved ones, then immediately consult an eye specialist. Detecting the problem early can help restore some of your vision, if not cure the problem.
Just as overall health check-up is required, annual eye check-ups are also important for people, especially in the old age. Comprehensive dilated eye exams and screening tests are recommended. You should ideally have yourself checked once every year. People with macular degeneration, glaucoma, or a family history of eye disorders may require frequent visits and regular monitoring.
Discuss your/your child’s overall condition with an eye specialist and ensure that you follow up for eye check-ups to the clinic every 6 months.
Eye cancer can start at any section of the eye. It happens when some cells in the eye mutate and start dividing rapidly. It is an uncommon kind of cancer, which can afflict both adults and children.
Where does the eye cancer start?
It can develop in any of the major parts of the eye-
When cancer affects the inside of the eyeball, it is called Intraocular cancer. In adults, melanoma and lymphoma are the two commonest forms of intraocular cancer. Retinoblastoma, cancer that starts in the retina is the commonest eye cancer in children.
Intraocular cancer can also be secondary when cancer takes root somewhere else in the body but spreads to the eyes.
What are the signs of eye cancer?
Often enough, eye cancer does not show any symptoms and a regular eye check-up may help find the signs of cancer. Unlike most other cancers, this one does not generate any pain. Some signs you should look out for are –
If you witness any of these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.
What are the causes and risk factors of eye cancer?
No particular cause of eye cancer has yet been identified. Like all cancers, it is caused by a genetic flaw, but doctors do not know what triggers it. However, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of getting eye cancer. Knowing the risk factors is important so that you can take precautionary measures. The factors that make a person prone to eye cancer are –
Eye cancer is not very common, but you should still make it a point to visit an ophthalmologist regularly for a comprehensive eye check-up.
Before you go through this, just close your eyes for a few seconds and ponder how your life would be if you are unable to see? Pathetic isn’t it? Eyes are one of the greatest gifts from the almighty, and it is your sole responsibility to protect them and keep in optimal health so that you too can keep on enjoying the beauty of nature.
Sometimes people are too lazy to go for an eye checkup when there is absolutely no vision problem and in other cases, people just don’t feel it is important to go for an eye checkup once in a year. However, routine eye exams are crucial for every person regardless of the age, gender, origin or habits. It is not just for individuals with poor eyesight but for everyone with or without eye problems. Here are the top reasons why you must be paying a visit to an ophthalmologist.
And it goes without saying that vision loss cannot be reversed. But in case you visit your ophthalmologist regularly from an early age, vision loss can be prevented or at least slowed down.
Eyes are very important organs as they provide you with the ability to see the world around you. However, your eyes are exposed to harsh climate and pollutants, and can develop strain or disease. Here are a few basic tips you can follow to take care of your eyes:
1. Eat healthy: It is important to eat healthy in order to maintain healthy eyes. Your diet should include foods rich in Vitamin A, B, C and E, Zinc, copper and other micronutrients rich foods. Food items such as carrots, lettuce, spinach, spouts and variety of fruits can help in keeping your eyes healthy for longer. Maintaining hydration by drinking enough water is also beneficial.
2. Wear sunglasses: Every time your eyes are exposed to the sun, they have to tolerate the harmful UV-A and UV-B rays. The ultraviolet rays can prove to be very damaging for your eyes hence you should wear sunglasses in the sun to protect your eyes.
3. Take breaks: Staring at a computer screen or a mobile screen all day can prove to be very harmful to your eyes. According to a study, when you stare at a screen for too long, you blink lesser. This can lead to dry eyes, and induced myopia
4. Get required rest: It is important to rest your eyes and free them of the strain they endure daily. Hence, you should aim to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep time daily to give them the required rest time.
5. Quit smoking: Smoking cigarettes can be harmful to your eyes as it increases chances of macular degeneration and cataracts. Smoking also increases chances of optic nerve damage as it impairs blood circulation to the eyes.
6. Eye yoga: Eye Yoga is an ancient method of relaxing your eyes and is also known as “palming”. All you need to do is cup your palms and place them over closed eyes in a way wherein your fingertips are touching your forehead. While cupping your eyes, take long, deep breaths which can help relax your eyes and mind.
Pupil dilation or dilated eyes simply mean a widening of the pupils. If you go for a comprehensive eye exam, your doctor will most probably conduct a dilated eye exam by using a special magnifying glass to observe the retina, optic nerve and the macula that is responsible for your normal vision clarity and colour vision.
How is it done?
The doctor will closely inspect each eye to detect any signs of common vision problems. He/she will put drops in each eye to widen the pupil (the coloured part of your eye). Dilation usually takes 15-30 minutes. This will allow more light to enter the eye that enables the doctor to examine wider area of the back of the eye clearly.
Why is the test important?
A dilated eye examination is very important to understand the condition of the eyes- whether there is any damage; to prevent future problems; manage early signs of the disease, and to treat it.
What problems can it detect?
• Glaucoma dilation assists in a detailed biomicroscopic examination of optic nerve head. Any change in the shape, colour or thickness of the optic nerve rim indicates damage to the nerves. Since nerve damage is irreversible, early detection allows for prolongation of good vision.
• Diabetic retinopathy - Any swelling or leaking in the retinal blood vessel or abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina points to this diabetic eye disease. This can lead to blindness. It occurs in people diagnosed with Type 1 and 2 diabetes.
• Age-related macular degeneration - If there are yellow pigments or deposits called drusen at the back of the retina, it can cause degeneration of the macula. This affects the sharpness of your vision. However, this disease, generally, occurs in people aged 50 and up. Occasional patient may progress to wet form of degeneration with a membrane of new fragile blood vessels forming beneath retina which bleed and leak causing decrease in central vision.
• Retinal detachment - The retina at the back of the eye separates from the underlying tissue. Its risk factors are myopia, previous history of trauma to eye, or eye surgery, a family history of RD etc or it can happen spontaneously. The common symptoms are increase in number of floaters, flashes of light, feeling of a black veil blocking ur vision etc. A routine examination helps evaluation the peripheral retina to see if there exist any peripheral retina break or tear or any degeneration that may cause a break some of which can progress to a retinal detachment.
• Hypertensive retinopathy - Retinal blood vessels are damaged due to high blood pressure that obstructs blood circulation to the retina. More severe consequences are bleeding in the eye, blurred vision and even complete loss of vision.
• An ocular tumour and brain tumour- Abnormal growth of cells around the retina indicates the presence of an eye tumour. Sometimes changes in the optic nerve indicate presence of mass in brain.
Here are some things to consider-
• If you are 60 or you know someone aged 60, it is time to consider going for a comprehensive dilated eye examination.
• If you have Type 1 diabetes, you should get your eyes checked within 5 years of diagnosis to detect early signs of degeneration.
• If you are diabetic and you wish to have a baby, visit an eye doctor before you conceive or within the first trimester.
• When you go for the test, carry your sunglasses or ask for disposable glasses from the clinic. Your eyes will become sensitive to light due to the eye drops.
• Ask a friend to accompany you home after the test. The drops typically take 4-6 hours to wear off. It will definitely be a nuisance and dangerous for you to drive home alone.
Eye problems are common in people, especially in children and elderly. In most cases, problems relating to vision or eyesight are triggered due to an underlying condition or an infection. If left untreated, these can impede your daily activities. Therefore, it is advisable that you get yourself checked and opt for a dilation eye exam upon encountering symptoms like blurred vision, itchy/watery eyes, redness of the eyeballs, etc.