Nanda told host and retired chiropractor Dr. Bryan Ardis that the eyes are the windows to the soul. She added that the eyes are the only body part where the blood vessels and the nerves can be seen. This, Nanda added, gives people a sneak peek of what is happening to the rest of the body.
Ardis then showed a clip about diabetic retinopathy, which is "the most common diabetic eye disease and is a leading cause of blindness in persons with diabetes." It is caused by changes in the retina's blood vessels, and can eventually lead to blindness.
Some people with diabetic retinopathy may experience swelling and leaking of fluid or blood in the blood vessels of their retinas. Meanwhile, people with diabetes will have abnormal new blood vessels growing on the surface of the retina.
Nanda, the founder and director of the Houston-based Nanda Dry Eye and Vision Institute, emphasized that too much sugar is a bad idea. When the body is full of sugar, it leaks everywhere and gets into the lens of the eye – causing a myopic shift in focus.
Ardis added that when hemorrhaging happens, the body starts growing new blood vessels to compensate for it. Nanda agreed, adding that the smallest blood vessels in the body are located in the eyes and in the toes. Growing fragile blood vessels around the eye could lead to hemorrhages, which cause heart attacks in patients who have diabetes.
According to Nanda, there are actually 37 million Americans – amounting to one in 10 – who have diabetes. Thirty-three percent of this diabetic population will end up with retinopathy.
She also mentioned that those with prediabetes have too much sugar, but with the level of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) at lower levels. Those with HbA1c levels at seven or higher are already diabetic. Feeling thirsty and hungry all the time, as well as urinating frequently, are the first clinical symptoms of diabetes.
Aside from the retina, Nanda also shared that too much sugar destroys other parts of the eye. Having high sugar levels causes the glands behind the eyelashes, called meibomian glands, to be destroyed. These glands produce meibum, an oily substance the protects the cornea from drying out – and lack of this meibum causes dry eyes.
Aside from the meibomian glands being destroyed, those with diabetes have a higher risk of developing styes (chalazions). These growths are linked to diabetes and the insulin resistance. Moreover, Nanda warned that the eye's vitreous body can be filled up with blood when there is hemorrhage – causing glaucoma and blindness.
Nanda told Ardis that a lot of people are eating packaged items that contain something to preserve the food, which is usually sugar or salt. She urged people to drop these bad foods if they want to preserve their vision. (Related: How to deal with bad eating habits: Understanding sugar addiction.)
"I don't even take ketchup now because I can taste the sugar. I don't have sugar in anything that I eat or do, and I don't eat a packaged item," she commented. "And if you want to save yourself, you will not do that either."
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