How Diabetes Can Affect the Eyes
Eye care is extremely important for diabetics. It’s is a disease that impairs the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin. As a result, diabetes can affect the eyes and many other parts of the body. When a person’s blood sugar gets too high or too low, it can change the fluid levels in the eyes. This makes a diabetic more likely to develop vision problems and even blindness. Luckily, routine eye exams can help prevent serious vision issues from occurring.
Vision problems are one of the first symptoms of diabetes. Many people experience blurred vision or double vision. However, eye doctors are often able to spot diabetes early on. And, after an individual’s blood sugar and insulin levels are under control, these issues are often resolved. But, diabetes can sometimes lead to other complications over time.
According to the American Optometric Association, diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss for Americans under the age of 74. Why? Because diabetes can affect the eyes, people with the condition are more likely to develop complications. Some complications include:
- Glaucoma – Those living with diabetes are 40% more likely to develop glaucoma. This condition is usually treatable but can lead to permanent blindness.
- Cataracts – Diabetics have a 60% higher chance of developing cataracts. They’re also more likely to get them at a younger age. A cataract causes the lens of the eye to become cloudy, thus blocking light.
- Diabetic retinopathy – Diabetes can cause changes in the retina. As these issues progress, a person may develop blindness.
These issues may worsen over time, which is why seniors are at an increased risk. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the main concerns for eye health. In particular, optometrists pay close attention to this condition during exams. Diabetic retinopathy occurs because diabetes weakens the tiny blood vessels in the eyes. These blood vessels all lead to the retina. And, if the retina doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen, parts of it can start to die.
But remember, not every person will develop retinopathy. Risk simply increases with time. Additionally, uncontrolled blood sugar and blood pressure levels can also increase risk. Fortunately, there are new treatments coming that can help fight retinopathy.
Routine Checkups are Key
If you have diabetes, talk to your eye doctor about your vision health. The American Diabetes Association recommends getting a dilated eye exam once a year. During the exam, the doctor will look for any changes in your vision. Early diagnosis is the key to protecting your eyesight.
If you notice any vision problems before your next visit, see a doctor as soon as possible. For example, if you experience double vision, make an appointment. Other changes to look out for include:
- Blurred vision
- Trouble reading
- Persistent eye redness
- Pressure in the eyes
- Seeing spots or floaters
Schedule Your Next Appointment
Anyone can develop eye problems. But, because certain conditions like diabetes can affect the eyes, preventative care is even more important. Schedule a visit at Looking Glass Optical today. Give us a call at 410-768-0202 or make an appointment online.