Although most people are familiar with diabetes, relatively few are aware of the eye-related complications. The raised glucose levels associated with diabetes can harm your eyes in various ways.
The threat of eye damage is increased when diabetes is not treated. Diabetic eye disease can appear in a few different ways.
Diabetic retinopathy refers to a leading cause of blindness in adults. This condition is caused by blocked blood vessels in the retina caused by the increased blood sugar levels. This leads to leaks in the blood vessels resulting in irreversible retinal damage.
The retina is the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye, which is essential for proper vision. Damage to the retina can result in permanent vision loss. While controlling diabetes can reduce the likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy, it does not completely eliminate the risk and consequently it is essential to have your eyes checked yearly if you have diabetes.
Blood sugar levels that fluctuate regularly can also impact vision. Since blood sugar levels are linked to your lens's ability to maintain sharp focus, this can result in blurry vision that varies with glucose levels.
Individuals with diabetes have a greater chance to develop cataracts, a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes clouded, which impacts vision. Cataracts are a common condition that comes with aging, but happens at an earlier age in individuals with diabetes.
The risk of developing glaucoma in individuals with diabetes is two times that of the rest of the population. Glaucoma is an elevation in interoptic fluid pressure which causes damage to the optic nerve and eventually vision loss.
The optimal prevention for diabetic eye disease is control of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, to eat properly, exercise and refrain from smoking. Since eye damage is often not noticeable until damage has occurred it is imperative to schedule yearly checkups with an eye doctor to identify any developing damage as early as possible. Even though it is common that any loss of sight that results from diabetic eye disease of any kind cannot be restored, further damage can be slowed by early detection.