As the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes continues to rise among children in the United States, it has been found that they are susceptible to a complication called diabetic retinopathy.
That is why frequent eye check-ups are critical in children with type 2 diabetes than, so ophthalmologists can look for symptoms before serious complications arise.
Can Diabetes Cause Eye Problems in Children?
Both children with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. All children with diabetes must be monitored regularly for symptoms of eye problems. If your child reports any vision changes, they should see a pediatric ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
Can a Child Get Diabetic Retinopathy?
As noted, children with diabetes are more at risk for diabetic retinopathy, but what is the condition? It is caused by blood sugar levels that are too high, causing damage to the blood vessels in the retina.
With time, it can develop into a condition called proliferative retinopathy, where new blood vessels grow on the retinal. The blood vessels can break and cause bleeding in the eye, causing vision difficulties. It can even lead to blindness if not treated.
What Eye Conditions are Linked to Diabetes?
Diabetic retinopathy can cause another eye condition called diabetic macular edema, a leading cause of visual impairment in the United States.
Diabetic macular edema causes fluid build-up in the part of the eye called the macula, which helps to have a sharp, straight vision. Fluid leaks from blood vessels, causing the macula to swell and thicken, altering vision. It is a condition that can also eventually lead to blindness.
Symptoms of diabetic macular edema include:
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Eye floaters
- Colors that look washed out or faded
- Vision loss
Both conditions can be stopped and even reversed with treatment, but prevention is key. By controlling blood sugar levels, patients can reduce their risk of developing eye conditions related to diabetes.
How Long Does it Take for Diabetes to Damage Eyes?
There is no set time frame for how long it takes for diabetes to damage the eyes as it is usually gradual and depends on the patient. That said, over half of the patients who have Type 2 diabetes develop diabetic retinopathy over time.
This is why it is essential to have yearly eye exams if your child has diabetes and to have them checked sooner if they have any vision changes.
My Child has Diabetes — Where Can I Find a Pediatric Eye Doctor in NJ?
Pediatric Eye Associates have two board-certified pediatric ophthalmologists in NJ. We pride ourselves on forming connections with your entire family to build trust with your child as they grow older. This is especially important in children who need more frequent exams.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, contact us at our office. We hope to be able to be partners with you in your child’s vision needs now and in the future.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare