Start typing “complications” into Google and before you can even finish the word, “complications of diabetes” is the first thing that pops up. Read any of the articles and you’ll find a large, scary list of diseases and health problems diabetes can cause. Basically any organ of the body can be affected by diabetes: kidneys, heart, nerves, skin, eyes, the list goes on. I try my best to not think about and dwell on all the possible complications that could arise from having diabetes. However, it is in the back of my mind, and in a way it motivates me to do my best to control my blood sugar and hopefully avoid any future problems.
The reason this topic is on my mind is because I had my annual eye appointment today. Two years ago, I had my very first eye appointment. My eye pressures were very high. I was referred to an eye specialist because it was possible that I had glaucoma. I had never heard of glaucoma, but once I looked it up, I was scared. Glaucoma is when pressure builds up in the eye, damaging the retina and optic nerve because of decreased blood flow. Having diabetes greatly increases the risk of glaucoma, and if glaucoma goes untreated, it can lead to blindness.
During the time until I saw the specialist, I was so worried that I had glaucoma and was going to someday be blind. It didn’t help that I was having trouble seeing due to a floater in my left eye. I had all kinds of tests done when I went to the specialist. My eye pressures were still high, but there is no damage to my eyes, and I don’t have glaucoma.
Today my pressures were the lowest they have ever been. I did learn that if one holds their breath and doesn’t keep their eyes wide open during the test, it increases the pressure. This could be a major part of why my pressures are high. I hate anything touching my eyes, and I get nervous. I try to get away from whatever is coming at my eye, usually by trying to close my eyes, and when I get nervous, I tend to hold my breath.
American Diabetes Association recommends having a dilated eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist once a year. Having an optician or regular doctor check your eyes is not enough. I hope to never develop glaucoma or any other eye problems, but at least any problems will be detected early because of having yearly exams.