OPINION

Health and Wellness - More on vision

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Public Health

A column on Diabetic Eye Disease Month allowed me to become more informed on the world of health professionals specializing in eyes and vision. The column encouraged readers to have a thorough eye exam by a doctor. This sparked conversation with a local optometrist who pointed out that optometrists in Iowa may prescribe medications and perform minor surgical procedures, in addition to doing vision examinations. So if you have diabetes, you may trust your local licensed optometrist to examine and monitor your eyes for any disease complications.

One of the complications of diabetes is retinopathy, which damages the blood vessels on the back wall, or retina, of the eye. In persons with uncontrolled type 1 or type 2 diabetes, retinopathy may result in blindness. Some of the first signs of retinopathy are seeing dark spots, blurred vision, and dark or empty areas in your field of vision.

Any of these symptoms should prompt a visit to your eye healthcare professional. What causes retinopathy? Someone who consistently has too much glucose (sugar) in their blood has a risk of damaging the blood vessels that provide oxygen and nourishment to the retina. Naturally tissue with poor blood supply cannot thrive.