With age the various organs of our body start to degenerate and in some cases serious problems occur. Aging is a natural process but it can be delayed rather extended by up to a decade with proper diet and health management.


Some of the problems are common for all elders but there are quite a few diabetic specific. We have discussed with a number of doctors, the elders and diabetic persons and append below a few with symptoms and their management:


Dryness and an irritating sensation in the eye:

In old age there is a reduction in the secretion of tears which play an important role in the protection of the eyes. Each time we blink, the eyelids wash the eye with the tears which are secreted. Tears act as a lubricant and keep the eyes clean and moist. To prevent drying, one should frequently wash the eyes with clean cold water.


Presbyopia is a condition where reading and other work needing close attention of the eye becomes difficult. It normally commences from the age of 40 onwards. Periodical eye check-up and use of clinically prescribed spectacles can improve vision.


In the normal eye the lens is clear and allows the normal passage of light. But when Cataract develops, the lens becomes cloudy and prevents light from entering the eye. The person who has cataract cannot see objects at a distance and vision could be hazy. If left untreated, the cataract enlarges and the power of vision gradually reduces.


Treatment for Cataract:
If Cataract is detected early some improvement is vision can be achieved by wearing glasses. But this vision can only be temporary. The person may eventually need surgery.


Cataract surgery:
 For Cataract correction there 2 types of surgery are recommended.
1. Conventional type of surgery where the eye lens is removed and the patient is advised to wear spectacles with thick lenses after 6 weeks.
2. Intra-Ocular Lens -(I.O.L) Surgery where an artificial lens is placed from where the natural lens was removed.


The differences between the two and the plus or minus points are given below:

Conventional Cataract Surgery

I.O.L Cataract surgery.

Surgery can be performed by all Ophthalmologists

Simple instruments are sufficient

Normal vision is  possible if the patient wears glasses 4-6 weeks after surgery.

The spectacles are thick, heavy and cause discomfort.

Size of the image will be enlarged. Field of vision will be reduced.

Surgery can be performed only by trained specialists.

Precision instruments are needed

Normal vision will be restored in 7 days following surgery.

No such problem as spectacles are not needed

No such alteration.


Glaucoma is a condition caused by excessive pressure within the eye. Elders are more susceptible to it.


Symptoms of Glaucoma:
Loss of eyesight and severe pain in the eyes are the main symptoms, but the disorder may progress slowly without any symptoms, except a gradual loss of vision. That is why it is important that elders should have their eyes tested at least once a year.


What is the treatment of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is mostly treated by medicines to reduce the pressure within the eyeball. Sometimes surgery may be needed.


The retina is located in the back of the eye where it receives images much like those projected onto a movie screen. For someone to see those images clearly, the retina must be healthy and capable of capturing the details of the image being viewed.

Retinopathy causes small leaks in the blood vessels of  the retina that can eventually create blurred vision. As the disease progresses, eyesight becomes poorer as portions of the retina shut down.


Diabetic Retinopathy:
Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. The specific cause of retinopathy seems to have a strong link with sustained high blood-glucose levels.


The eyes are fine if there is no pain symptom:
Such is not the case. Diabetic retinopathy can progress, even to a severe stage, without noticeable symptoms. Unfortunately many people who know they have diabetes do not understand how their eyes may be affected. The most common mistake among diabetics is to assume their eyes are fine because they experience no noticeable problems or pain.


Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy:
Yes, early detection and treatment of retinopathy can slow or correct the potential problems in the vast majority of cases. Because symptoms are often missing, the best detection is a professional eye examination at least every 6 months. A yearly eye examination for all people with diabetes is essential.

Recent advances in laser surgery have greatly improved the prognosis for those with retinopathy. Laser surgery is so precise that leaks in blood vessels can be stopped or diseased tissue on the retina destroyed. The procedure is usually painless and without complications.

Laser surgery cannot restore vision that has already been lost. For this reason, detecting and treating diabetic retinopathy early is the best way to prevent vision loss.


Diabetic Retinopathy can result in blindness:
Yes, undetected and untreated retinopathy can cause blindness. But if detected in time 90% of such blindness is preventable.


Preventive measures one can take to minimise eye problems:
Proper vision ensures better quality of life. Most problems relating to the eye are either preventable or treatable and old people should not accept failing sight as part of becoming old. The following points are important:


·                     Yearly check-up of the eyes.

·                     Sufficient light while reading and writing.

·                     Avoid watching television constantly.

·                     Avoid looking directly at the sun.

·                     Avoid self-medication (especially eye-drops) for eye problems.

·                     Once glasses are prescribed they should be used constantly.







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