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Is glaucoma more prevalent in people who have diabetes?

Yes, glaucoma is more prevalent in diabetics. The reason being that diabetics may develop multi?system disease. What does that mean? Diabetics can develop small vessel disease in the heart, kidney, the eye, and elsewhere. By developing reduced blood flow to the eye, the disease process called Glaucoma can ensue.
Diabetics are examined far more frequently than other individuals. So there is a better chance todetect early changes in the intraocular pressure than is the case for others. Glaucoma is a disease of wasting of the optic nerve and the retinal nerve fibers, which feed it. With clogging of the drainage sites for the eye fluid, the pressure may raise. However, eye pressure alone does not make for the diagnosis of glaucoma. It is really the health of the blood supply to the back of the eye that supplies those nerve fibers carrying the image from the retinal receptors through the optic nerve to the brain. Reduced blood supply in relationship to the pressure of the fluids inside of the eye will cause a drop out in nerve fibers giving a characteristic picture of optic nerve thinning.
People are especially vulnerable at nighttime. Diabetics, who often demonstrate the metabolic syndrome, frequently will have high blood pressure. So they will be treated with appropriate medication. The blood pressure at night will consequently be reduced; this is the very time the eye pressure is at its highest level. So in the middle of the night, unknowingly, people can be losing nerve fibers, which will lead to the condition of glaucoma.
It is important for diabetics to maintain their blood pressure, blood sugar, and overall health as well as to obtain an annual eye exam. In this way, they can maximize their vision for a lifetime.
Glaucoma is more prevalent in people who have diabetes. Studies have shown that the risk for developing glaucoma increases by 5% for every year a person has diabetes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.