Diabetes may affect the body in many ways, also you may have heard that it can lead to eye problems and even lead to blindness. People with diabetes do have a higher risk of blindness than people without diabetes, however, there’s good news: Most diabetes-related vision loss may be avoided. Among the most common eye problems individuals with diabetes may encounter is diabetic retinopathy, once the blood vessels in the retina (the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye) swell, leak, or close off completely–or if abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina. People with diabetes must get routine eye exams, even before they lose eyesight, so their physician can search for symptoms and signs of retinopathy and cure it quickly. There are treatments that often work nicely if you start them straight away.
Even if you do not have retinopathy, diabetes may lead to vision on your eyes to alter. If your blood sugar levels change quickly, it may affect the form of the lens of your eye and lead to blurry vision. Vision may go back to normal if blood sugar control improves. There’s also a link between diabetes and cataracts. Permanent blurring of vision due to cataracts could result from modifications to the lens as a result of excess blood sugar. Cataract surgery may be necessary to remove lenses that are clouded by the effects of diabetes and replace them with transparent lenses to restore clear vision.
There are lots of steps that you can take to lower your risk of diabetic eye problems: First, control of blood sugar decreases the risk of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic neuropathy. Secondly, higher blood pressure control is also important, because high blood pressure may cause eye problems worse. Third, avoid tobacco. Fourth, go to your eye doctor (an optometrist or ophthalmologist) regularly. Many advocate that individuals with diabetes have a comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor at least once every year. It is especially important to See your eye doctor if you develop:
- Blurry vision
- trouble reading
- double vision
- spots or floaters on your eyesight
- eye pain or pressure
- redness in one or both eyes
- or other concerning symptoms
Dr. Jeffrey S. Kerr is a board-certified endocrinologist and member of Cone Health Medical Staff. Dr. Kerr is a 2000 graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Cone Health and completed his fellowship in Endocrinology at Southern Illinois School of Medicine.