Low Vision Awareness Month: Is There a Connection Between Glaucoma and Diabetes?
Many of the people who purchase Mountain Ice use it to relieve pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, and those with diabetes are also at risk of other conditions, including diabetic retinopathy. Also known as diabetic eye disease, diabetic retinopathy is a group of eye conditions affecting people with diabetes. These conditions include glaucoma, the second-most common cause of blindness in the world.
The Facts About Glaucoma
Glaucoma affects many Americans, and rates are increasing considerably:
- 60 million people worldwide have glaucoma.
- 3 million Americans have glaucoma, 2.7 million of whom have open-angle glaucoma.
- 4.2 million Americans are projected to have glaucoma by 2030, a 58 percent increase in rates of the disease.
Glaucoma is often asymptomatic until serious vision loss has occurred, and they can vary based on the type and stage of the condition. Here are some symptoms to watch for:
- Patchy blind spots in the peripheral vision, in one or both eyes.
- Tunnel vision occurs in advanced stages of the disease.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a form that occurs suddenly and can cause blindness as quickly as a day after onset, making it crucial to recognize its symptoms quickly. They include:
- Blurred vision.
- Halos around lights.
- Severe headache.
- Eye pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Eye redness.
Glaucoma is a term for a group of conditions that damage the eye's optic nerve, which comprises the nerve fibers that carry information from the eye to the brain. The reasons for this damage are still being discovered, but it seems to relate to elevated eye pressure.
A fluid called the aqueous humor flows inside of your eye, delivering nutrients, inflating the cornea to protect against damaging elements like dust and pathogens, and balancing intraocular pressure. This maintains the spherical shape of the eyeball and keeps its walls taut. However, when this fluid builds up through overproduction or weak drainage, eye pressure increases.
Doctors aren't sure yet why this increased eye pressure does damage to the optic nerve, but it's found in the most common forms of the disease, such as open-angle glaucoma. Fluid drainage becomes blocked over a long period of time, which seems to cause this damage. In most forms, this is so gradual that it's not noticeable until significant damage has occurred.
How Diabetes Affects Your Eyes
Your blood sugar is the major source of energy in your body. Glucose is carried throughout your body to provide fuel to its cells. Too much blood sugar, however, can damage organs in your body; in the case of your eyes, this damage typically occurs to the blood vessels in your retina. Excess blood sugar causes these vessels to swell, which can cause the increased pressure associated with glaucoma.
Treatment and Prevention
Glaucoma has no cure, so early detection and slowing the progression of the disease is vital to managing it. This is especially important when you have a family history with glaucoma or are a member of groups with an increased prevalence of the condition. Here's some ways to detect and prevent glaucoma:
Regular dilated eye examinations: Get comprehensive eye exams before significant damage occurs. The American Academy of Ophthamology recommends the following schedule based on your age, although if you are high-risk for glaucoma you may need more frequent exams:
- Under 40 years old: every 5 to 10 years.
- 40 to 54 years old: every 2 to 4 years.
- 55 to 64 years old: every 1 to 3 years.
- 65 and above: every 1 to 2 years.
Prescription eyedrops: If you have a high risk of developing glaucoma, ask your doctor about glaucoma eye drops that help reduce intraocular pressure.
Know your family's eye history: A family history of glaucoma will require more frequent screening.
Exercise: Regular exercise may help reduce your risk of glaucoma, as conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure can be factors.
Eye protection: Eye injuries can cause glaucoma later. Wear eye protection while using tools, playing contact sports, or during any physical activity where your eyes may be injured.
Mountain Ice Pain Relief Gel for People with Diabetic Neuropathy
Many patients with neuropathy apply topical pain relievers to relieve localized pain. Mountain Ice is an ideal choice for that, but can also do so much more. The ingredients contained in Mountain Ice have anti-inflammatory as well as anti-oxidant properties, both of which help to increase blood flow. Poor circulation is a common factor in neuropathy, and increasing the body's ability to deliver blood and oxygen to damaged nerves can speed up regeneration.
Many neuropathy cases also stem from inflammatory or autoimmune conditions, which cause painful inflammation and swelling as the body's immune system attacks itself. Mountain Ice contains a number of ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, such as menthol, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin E, and glucosamine that can reduce that swelling.
Be sure to speak with your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before stopping or starting any medication, taking any supplements, or beginning a new healthcare regimen.