ECI, Section 7
April 20, 2012
Dr. William Bloch
Diabetes-related eye conditions
Insulin is the hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. Diabetics occur when the body lacks insulin and is unable to convert food into energy needed for everyday activities (Reaven, 2010). The American National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease explains that abnormal blood sugar level is one the main causes of diabetes (The National Institute, 2010). According to InterAsia, a research cooperative between U.S., Chinese and Thai universities, two-third of diabetics live in the developing countries such as China, India and Thailand. Thai cuisine is well known as spiritual, nutritious, and even sophisticated (2011). However, many Thai food lovers may not realize the fact that there is a high amount of sugar hiding behind the spice. A diabetes specialist with Thailand’s Mahidol University, Napaporn Sowattanangoon says that the country’s sweetness addiction as Thailand is one of the fastest expanding diabetes. Approximately, one in twelve American people suffer from disease, while the rate even higher in Thailand with is one in ten having this condition. Moreover, half of Thai diabetics are unaware of their disease (Winn, 2010). Diabetes can lead to complications, which affect different sections of the body, including eye(s). The unusual changes in blood sugar levels resulting from diabetes can result in serious eye conditions including cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. This first disease is called cataracts. The name is so familiar because when people get old, almost everyone got it. If grandparents have it, our parents might have it soon, we might get it one day. Cataract is the world’s leading cause of blindness, resulting in blindness foe over 18million people. This astounding number represents almost half of all causes of blindness due to eye diseases globally (Light for the World, n.d.). Cataract is a condition that develops in the eye lens causing cloudiness in the lens preventing light from entering the retina, which causes significant sight loss and blindness obviously the common result. As the cataract matures over time, the cloudiness increases causing sharp images to become blurry and patient may face difficulty seeing things at night (Cataract, 2012). While being blind is like trying to look through an opaque object, having cataract can be compared to looking through a translucent material. Cataracts is very common, it is almost as natural as having wrinkles as you age. According to PBA (Prevent Blindness America). In people age over 40, cataracts are the most ordinary cause of blindness. In fact, there are more cases of cataracts worldwide than there are of the two major eye diseases mentioned above combined, glaucoma and retinopathy (J. Lee & G. Bailey, 2011). Nearly all cataract patients are age forty and over, however, people with diabetes get these eye problems at an earlier age and the condition progresses more rapidly than non-diabetics. While diabetes causes the blood sugar level to alter, the fluctuation of sugar level in blood can leak into the eye causing the lens to swell. When the blood sugar diffuses, the swelling reduces, when this process is repeated continually, it causes cloudiness or fogginess to the eye lens (Cataracts and Diabetes, n.d.). This means that cataract is more likely to occur if the control of diabetes is poor. Being diabetic does not mean you must suffer from cataract, however, having diabetes increase the chance of developing cataract by 60% (Cataracts and Diabetes2, n.d). In Thailand, cataract is also the leading cause of blindness, up to 50,000 people are affected annually (ต้อกระจก, n.d). Luckily, nowadays, technology leaps forward. Cataract surgeries have become one of the most common and well-perfected surgeries performed out there. The success rate is very high, since it is the...
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