HOW DOES DIABETES AFFECT YOUR VISION?

Dr. Jim Martin 06/17/2015

diabetes-bloodsugar-test-1.jpgPeople with diabetes have a higher risk of becoming visually impaired. The good news is that most people who have diabetes do not develop anything more than minor eye issues. However, without routine eye exams and care, a minor eye problem may become a major one.

What Kind Of Eye Problems Can Diabetics Develop?

Diabetes interferes with the body's ability to store and process glucose. Over time, glucose levels in the blood start to rise. If left unchecked, this excess sugar can start to damage blood vessels throughout the body, including the microscopic blood vessels in the eyes.

Diabetic retinopathy

The retina is the layer inside the eye that converts light waves into signals that the brain can understand. This layer of tissue is fed by fine blood vessels. High levels of glucose will damage the structure of these blood vessels over time.

In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, the patient knows nothing. The damage is at a microscopic level and does not affect vision. However, over time, this damage will start to get worse. Eventually, it will start to affect vision and can eventually lead to vision loss if not treated.

If caught early enough, there are many treatments to reverse or stop the deterioration. Unfortunately, if the disease has caused vision changes, the damage may be permanent.

Cataracts

People who have diabetes have a significantly higher chance of developing cataracts earlier in life. This is likely due to the damage done to fine blood vessels in the eye. Cataracts cause cloudy vision or continuous glare. Eventually, the patient will need surgery to replace the cloudy lens with a man-made one.

Glaucoma

The pressure inside the orb of the eye needs to be held at a steady state for optimum eyesight. If the fluid inside the eye cannot drain properly, this pressure can start to rise. Without treatment, this pressure can damage blood vessels and nerves in the eye. The damage can be permanent without proper treatment.

How Can You Prevent Eye Problems Caused By Diabetes?

The most effective treatment is careful management of blood glucose levels. Keeping glucose levels at doctor recommended levels will prevent or minimize damage to the blood vessels.

Besides careful glucose management, routine eye exams are needed to monitor the eyes to make sure minor problems are detected early. Early detection makes treatment and management much easier.

If you are diabetic, make an appointment every year to have your eyes examined. Contact us here at Broome Optical in Amarillo to set your next appointment. Our team of optical specialists has plenty of experience handling eye problems associated with diabetes.

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