Diabetes & The Eyes
When you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have eye problems than someone without it. Over time, high blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. That can lead to an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes, and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults. Diabetic macular Edema (DME) is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy. DME is swelling in an area of the retina called the macula.High blood sugar can also contribute to cataracts and glaucoma.
If you find and treat diabetic retinopathy early, you may slow or even reverse some forms of vision loss. If you have diabetes, you should see an eye doctor at least once a year for a dilated eye exam. In some cases, certain medications, lasers, and other procedures are available to treat diabetic retinopathy once it progresses.
Diabetes and Cataracts:
You’re more likely to have cataracts— and at a younger age — if you have diabetes. Cataracts are a clouding of your eye’s lens and may cause blurred vision. If you have mild cataracts, sunglasses and glare-control glasses may help. When cataracts begin to interfere with activities of daily living, then it may be time for cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is the removal of the cloudy lens and the placement of a clear artificial lens. Your ophthalmologist will work with you to determine the proper timing for you.
Diabetes and Glaucoma:
Having diabetes doubles your odds of glaucoma, a condition of increased pressure in your eye. This extra pressure can damage the retina and the optic nerve, the main eye nerve for sight. You likely won’t have symptoms early on. Some people slowly lose vision or see bright halos or colored rings around lights. Glaucoma may be treated with prescription eye drops to lower eye pressure. In some cases, you may need laser treatment or surgery.
- Manage your blood sugar
- Manage your blood pressure
- Quit smoking
- Have an annual dilated eye exam with your ophthalmologist. Call us at 518-450-1080 to book your annual exam.
- Watch for warning signs such as:
- Blurry, cloudy, or double vision
- Flashing lights or rings around lights
- Blank, dark, or floating spots in your vision
- Pain, pressure, or constant redness in your eyes
- Trouble seeing signs or straight lines
- Trouble seeing out of the corner of your eye
- Any sudden change in your vision