Diabetes is a disease that can affect your sight. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s also one of the leading causes of new cases of blindness in people over age 40. That Can Affect Your Sight Diabetes damages blood vessels in the retina, which can lead to blurred vision or even total loss of vision.
Here are some ways diabetes can affect your eyesight:
1. Severe Blood Sugar Changes:
When the levels of blood sugar are too high or too low, it can affect your vision. That Can Affect Your Sight High glucose levels cause blurry vision by damaging the tiny blood vessels in the retina, which brings fluid to nourish them and keep them healthy. If these blood vessels burst, they will leak fluid into surrounding tissue and cause swelling. Low blood sugar can make you see things that aren’t there (hallucinations). It can also make you unable to see.
2. Eye Changes:
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in working-age adults, according to CDC. As diabetic retinopathy worsens, it can create new blood vessels in the retina. These new blood vessels can bleed easily, which will cause you to see floaters, where dark specks seem to swim across your field of vision. Over time these scars can damage the retina and lead to blindness.
3. Eye Infections:
People with diabetes are more likely to get eye infections because of weak immune systems.
Cataract’s form when proteins in the eye’s lens begin to cloud or become less transparent and appear as a milky-white film over the pupil. People with diabetes may get cataracts at an earlier age than people without diabetes, and they’re more likely to have surgery for cataracts later in life. It’s important to take steps to keep your blood sugar levels under control and schedule regular eye exams with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
5. Diabetic Macular Edema
This can cause blurred vision or blind spots, and you may only be able to see things clearly when they are directly in front of you. If untreated, DME can lead to permanent vision loss. If you have diabetes, it’s important to monitor your blood sugars regularly, take medications as instructed, and follow up with your doctor about any changes in vision.
Cataract surgeries are a great way to restore vision in people with diabetes. It can help prevent blindness, so it’s important to take care of your eyes and visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist every year for a checkup.
6 tips to prevent blindness from diabetes
1. Get a dilated eye exam annually to screen for diabetic retinopathy as well as other diseases that can affect your eyes and vision, such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
2. Follow your doctor’s instructions exactly on how often to check your blood sugar, get an A1C test (to measure average blood-sugar levels over the past 2–3 months) and schedule regular eye exams.
3. Keep your blood pressure under control because high blood pressure can damage the optic nerve, causing vision loss.
4. Work with your doctor to control cholesterol levels because high cholesterol can lead to blood vessel damage in the eyes.
5. Don’t look at an eclipse without special glasses because the bright light can damage your retina.
6. Ask your doctor about oral diabetes medications that may slow vision loss if you’re at risk for diabetic retinopathy.
We’re Here to Help If you or a loved one is having trouble seeing, visit an optometry professional right away.