Diabetes and Your Eyes: 4 Symptoms to Watch For
Failing eyesight is something many of us think of as normal as we grow older. It gets harder to read menus or road signs so we turn to eyeglasses for help. But if you have diabetes, changes in your vision might be a sign of something more serious.
Diabetic Retinopathy—What is it?
People with diabetes are at risk for a condition called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes causes you to have too much sugar in your blood, which can damage many parts of your body, including your eyes. Diabetic retinopathy happens when the blood vessels in your retina leak blood and other fluids, causing the retina to swell. Your retina is the lining at the back of your eye that is sensitive to light. Swelling in your retina leads to cloudy or blurry vision. Once blood sugar levels are controlled, blurred vision will improve. However, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness if left untreated, so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms.
4 Important Symptoms to Watch For
If you have diabetes, there are 4 important symptoms to watch for when it comes to your eyesight:
1. Seeing spots or “floaters” in your field of vision
2. Cloudy or blurry vision
3. A dark or empty spot in the center of your vision
4. Difficulty seeing well at night
The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have none of these symptoms. That’s why it’s so important that you have a full eye examination once a year if you have diabetes. If it’s caught early and treated correctly, the effects of diabetic retinopathy can be greatly diminished.
How It’s Treated
Treatment of diabetic retinopathy depends on how serious the condition is. Often times laser surgery is needed to seal leaking blood vessels in the eyes or to prevent other blood vessels from leaking. You might also require eye injections to decrease inflammation or to stop the formation of new blood vessels. For those with more advanced cases of diabetic retinopathy, surgery may be needed to remove and replace the vitreous, the gel-like fluid in the back of the eye. Sometimes diabetic retinopathy can cause a detachment of the retina, which also requires surgery to repair.
How to Prevent It
If you’re diabetic, there are a few important measures you can take to prevent diabetic retinopathy. Firstly, always take the medication that your doctor prescribes you. Stick to the diet that you and your doctor have developed and try to exercise regularly. Finally, keep an eye on your blood pressure and avoid alcohol and smoking.
Living with diabetes means taking extra care your health. This includes your eyesight. To avoid the dangerous complications of diabetic retinopathy, control your blood sugar levels and tell your doctor of any changes in your vision. The friendly staff at VCC’s Optometry Health Services is here to answer any other questions you might have about the effect of diabetes on your eyes.
Call now to schedule an appointment!
The medical information contained on this article is general in nature and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for the advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by your own physician or a qualified healthcare provider. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with your own physician or a qualified healthcare provider. Although every effort is made to ensure the information provided is accurate and timely, it is provided for convenience and should not be considered official.