Childhood Diabetes and Vision

 

November is Diabetes Awareness month. For those who are unfamiliar with this disorder, diabetes is a decreased production of insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and is necessary for the control of blood sugar. Fluctuations in blood sugar can be harmful to the body and can sometimes result in vision problems.

The most common type of diabetes in young children is type 1 diabetes (sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes). In this type of diabetes the pancreas produces little or no insulin. The insulin must be replaced with shots or an insulin pump. According to recent research the incidence of type 1 diabetes is now twice as high among children as it was in the 1980’s.

How would I know if my child has diabetes?

Parents can look for the following signs and symptoms of the disease:

Blurred vision

Extreme hunger accompanied by weight loss

Excessive thirst

Frequent urination

Fatigue

Loss of feeling or tingles in the hands and feet

If you suspect your child might have diabetes, please contact your family doctor as soon as possible.

How is diabetes related to my child’s sight?

Diabetes can be harmful to the eyes and can cause permanent damage if the disease is not managed and controlled. If your child is diagnosed with diabetes, schedule a complete eye exam with an eye doctor as soon a possible and at least once a year thereafter. Your doctor may recommend more frequent eye exams if indicated by the presence of abnormalities.

There is no cure for diabetes, however with education and good management of the disease your child can lead a healthy and happy life.