Disturbances to the body in diabetics are related directly to the levels of blood glucose. The closer the blood glucose levels are to normal, the better the overall health of the diabetic patient. If blood glucose levels are always in the normal range, they are really not much different healthwise to the general population.
Having said that, what happens if the glucose levels go haywire?
If we confine ourselves to the eye, poor glucose control can cause:
- In the short term, fluctuations in spectacle power. Very high blood glucose levels tend to increase short sighted power, which can become lower again when the blood glucose levels come down through treatment. This can affect the accuracy and outcomes of any refractive surgery.
- Poor glucose control can cause poor corneal epithelial adhesion, leading to an increase in risk for corneal abrasions with LASIK, or poor healing after PRK/epiLASIK. Poor glucose control can also increase the risk for infections in general.
- In the long term, chronic poor glucose control can cause retinal problems (diabetic retinopathy), and earlier onset of cataracts.
Because of these issues, refractive surgery in diabetics is best considered on a case by case basis. If a patient has very good control of the diabetes, and is committed to a disciplined way of controlling the condition, then it could be possible to have such surgery. Otherwise, it may be best to continue with glasses or contact lenses.
It will depend on the patient's condition. Patients with diabetes may have fluctuating vision due to their inconsistent blood sugar level. However, if the patient's diabetes condition is under control, then it may be possible for one to undergo vision correction surgery. It will be wise for you to consult your endocrinologist/health professional regarding your condition.
Also, when choosing which procedure to go for, you can bear in mind that Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) techniques (such as TransPRK and epiLASIK) will be more suitable for diabetic patients as compared to LASIK, due to the absence of cut flap.
If your diabetes is well-managed, then I will advise you to schedule a comprehensive eye evaluation with the eye surgeon of your choice.
Dr Tony Ho
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