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Lougheed Town Centre Optometry and Optical in Burnaby, BC
Located in Burnaby, BC
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Lougheed Town Centre Optical in Burnaby, BC
Home » What's New » Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million. 

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.  

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring. 

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes. 

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. 

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness. 

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages. 

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy. 

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision. 

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss. 

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids. 

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes. 

 

Clinic Protocols and Patient Guidelines – COVID -19

We have been working diligently to establish protocols to keep both our patients and staff safe during this time and for the foreseeable future. The following protocols and guidelines have been established to ensure the highest level of sanitation possible.

Clinic Hygiene and Sanitization Protocols

 

Arrival to the Clinic

ONLY scheduled patients are permitted to enter the clinic. If you were driven to the clinic, please ask your family/friend to wait for you in the car. Please enter the clinic no earlier than 5 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment.

If you arrive late for your appointment, it may have to be re-scheduled as we must keep on time to ensure enough time for sanitation between patients and avoid overcrowding at the reception area.

Please wear a MASK before entering the clinic.

If you do not have a mask, we will be offering them for a nominal fee.

 

Further Safety Precautions

Touchless Payment

Currently, we are only accepting Interac, Mastercard and Visa cards. If you have extended health insurance, Please inform our staff with all the details. We deal with Sun life, Great-West Life, Blue Cross and Manulife we will bill your insurance first and then charge your credit card the remaining balance.

Physical Distancing

Please be mindful to keep 2M distance if you run into other patients in the reception room. Stand on the floor decals. We are aiming to stagger appointment to avoid congregation in the waiting room.

Sanitation time between each treatment has been scheduled and we are using hospital grade disinfectants to sanitize all high touchpoints, tables, light switches, door handles etc

Practitioner PPE

We will be wearing masks, and some will be wearing face shields, gloves, and scrubs.

Paying for your treatment

 

Booking Appointments

Please email the clinic at info@lougheedoptical.com or call at (604) 420-2115 for your future appointments.

24 Hours Prior to your scheduled appointment

24 hrs. prior to your appointment, you will receive your 24-hour reminder email. It will have a link to the THRIVE BC COVID- 19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool. The link is: https://bc.thrive.health/covid19/en IF you answer YES to any of the questions, please call the clinic to reschedule your appointment no earlier than 2 weeks. This is extremely important for the safety and protection of our patients, therapist, and our families.

Upon the arrival of your appointment, if we notice any flu-like symptoms or through conversation realize that you have possibly engaged with friends/family who may have been exposed to COVID- 19, we will respectfully ask you to reschedule the appointment.

Product Purchase

Our Staff will assist you in Choosing your Eye Wear, Please DO NOT HANDLE THE FRAMES FROM THE DISPLAY. Once you have made your Frame selection the remaining frames will be sanitized before being placed on the frame bars.

These protocols are in place to ensure the health and safety of you, your loved ones, our staff, our practitioners, and their families.

We thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Lougheed Town Centre Optical & Optometry

Located at 9855 Austin Rd, Ste 147, Burnaby, BC V3J 1N4

Phone: 604-420-2115

We are back! We are now open to our normal business hours. Please request an appointment here or call 604-670-3329. We are looking forward to seeing you again. Thank you, and stay safe.