According to some studies, more than 50% of diabetic individuals experience dry eye syndrome. Diabetic patients typically complain of eye discomfort, grittiness, redness, sensitivity to light and a feeling of having a foreign body stuck in the eyes. In some cases, blurry vision is also experienced.
In today’s post, your trusted optometrist at Nova Vision Center discusses how dry eyes and diabetes are often linked.
What Causes Dry Eyes in Patients With Diabetes?
Insulin plays a role in tear production, which makes diabetic people more prone to dry eyes. Here are some specific eye conditions that contribute to the development of dry eye syndrome:
- Neurotrophic (insensitive) corneas often develop from diabetes. Since they occur due to nerve damage, they typically interrupt normal tear development pathways—which cause dry eye.
- Hyperglycemia and insulin resistance can result in neuropathy. Long-term diabetes can affect the corneal nerves as well as the lacrimal gland’s production of tears.
- Inflammation releases cytokines in the body. Cytokines are chemicals that can also damage tear-producing cells in the lacrimal gland and conjunctiva.
How Can Dry Eye Syndrome Be Treated?
Your eye doctor can recommend a few ways to treat dry eye. Generally, regular exercise, Omega 3 supplements and a good diet consisting of vegetables, protein and oily fish like salmon and mackerel can help with eye health.
If you need topical treatment, your specialist may recommend topical lubricant eye drops and lubricant ointments at night. If you are suffering from eye inflammation, additional treatment and measures using cortisone eye drops or ointments may also be prescribed. If you have blepharitis (another common eye condition linked to diabetes), good eyelid hygiene and the use of eyelid cleansers are recommended.
Lastly, make sure to have your eyes checked every year. Regular eye exams are key to managing existing eye conditions and detecting new eye diseases early.
Nova Vision Center is a reputable provider of various eye care services, including eye exams, developmental optometry, post-trauma services and more. We also offer a range of eyeglasses and contact lenses to suit various needs and personal styles. Call us at (703) 578-3600 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in Alexandria and Arlington, VA.