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January 4, 2002


Question from Peebles, Ohio, USA:

I have type 2 diabetes (treated with diet and exercise), my vision is giving me trouble, and I have seen two doctors who say I’m fine. I do need glasses, but it hurts my eyes to look though them. Why have I had five sets, each with a different reading? Is all this because of my type 2 diabetes?


From: DTeam Staff

To answer your questions concerning your vision problems, I have several questions myself. With limited information provided, I will comment on general issues.

What is your age? It is common to have changes in vision, especially after age 40, that are unrelated to diabetes.
Over what time line did you get 5 pairs of glasses? It is “normal” to need a change annually perhaps and even every six months if you have developing cataracts. If you have uncontrolled blood sugar, you could need a change every month and of course the solution to this scenario is better blood sugar control.
What did the doctors really say? “Doing fine” can have many meanings and can be to general to address specific concerns. Are you doing fine because you have no diabetic retinopathy or progression? This does not address your vision and your glasses. Are you “doing fine” because this is the best you can expect with your glasses? Changing your glasses may not give you what you hoped for.

You need to discuss each issue with your doctor in a specific way and get an answer to that issue. You may need to ask, “is this the best I can expect”? You may get the answer — yes, and you’re doing fine. This means medically speaking things are stable for now and your residual complaints are a consequence of the situation. Perhaps speaking with a medical social worker will help you understand all the specifics which will help you to accept any shortcomings. Other factors such as laser treatment may not allow your glasses to satisfy your visual desire, because of unhealthy retinal tissue and you may have to settle with “best possible”. Cataracts can cause a prescription for glasses to be to strong and difficult to wear making it necessary to consider cataract extraction.