How Diabetes Affects the Eyes

Maintaining good eyesight is important for many reasons. Clear vision allows you to go about your daily life safely. Also, your eyesight can help doctors detect various health conditions, in addition to indicating your overall health. This means that specific vision problems can point to various health issues.


People with diabetes need to get regular eye exams to identify and/or prevent diabetes-related eye problems. If you are a diabetic, you need to know that this condition is one of the main causes of vision loss in people aged between 20 and 74 years.




How Can Diabetes Affect Your Eyes?



Diabetes can increase your risk of developing serious health complications. These include diseases of the eyes. Fortunately, managing your condition can help prevent such complications. Some of the eye complications that can develop in diabetics include:




Blurred Vision



High levels of blood sugar can cause swelling in the eyes’ tissues. This can lead to changes in vision. You may also experience blurry vision when you alter your diabetes treatment plan. In most cases, your vision will improve once you get your blood sugar levels in control.


But if you fail to manage your levels of blood sugar well, it can lead to more severe eye damage over time. If you are experiencing diabetes-related blurred vision, you need to consult your doctor as soon as possible. He or she will recommend the appropriate treatment plan to get your blood sugar levels back to a healthy range.




Diabetic Retinopathy



The purpose of the retina, located at the back of the eye, is to take in light and convert it into images. The optic nerve then sends those images to the brain. Damage to the tiny retinal blood vessels due to high blood glucose levels can cause diabetic retinopathy. Left untreated, this condition can lead to blindness. Also, the longer you live with diabetes, the more likely you are to develop this eye condition.




Macular Edema



The part of the eye that sends the best resolution images to the brain is the macula. Think of it as an HDTV screen. Located at the center of your retina, the macula is essential for crisp and clear vision. But as diabetic retinopathy begins to develop, the tiny blood vessels in your retina may begin to leak and bulge into the macula. This may cause it to swell, leading to wavy or fuzzy vision.




Glaucoma



This refers to a group of common eye problems experienced by millions of people in the United States. Damage to the optic nerve can lead to the development of glaucoma. This damage usually occurs due to excessive pressure inside the eye. Left unaddressed, this problem can lead to loss of vision or permanent blindness.


Diabetes can cause a form of glaucoma known as neovascular glaucoma. High levels of blood sugar can sometimes cause severe damage to your retinal blood vessels. This might force your body to make new ones. But if the new ones grow on your iris, it may cause the pressure in your eye to increase, which can cause this type of glaucoma.




Cataracts



This eye condition involves the clouding of the eye’s lens. If you are a diabetic, you are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age. High glucose levels can cause swelling in the eye’s lens. Also, the lens contains an enzyme that can collect or build up if allowed, which can affect cells and proteins. This can make your lens opaque, leading to vision obstruction.




To learn more about the effects of diabetes on the eyes, visit Studio Optix at our office in New York, New York. You can call (212) 765-4444 today to schedule an appointment.


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