Diabetes And Your Eyes: How Does Blood Sugar Affect Your Vision?
The Widespread Effect Of Diabetes
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes affects both children and adults in the U. S. today, and the numbers aren’t going down. If you or someone you know has diabetes, you are probably aware that it has the potential to damage most parts of the body. What about diabetes and your eyes?
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults in the U.S. today. So when it comes to diabetes and your eyes, you and your doctors want to be aggressive about detecting and treating any issues you may be having.
Diabetes And Your Eyes: The Damage It Can Cause
As blood sugar fluctuates, it weakens the blood vessels in the retina, which is the back lining of the eye. As these vessels weaken, it can lead to blood leaking out of them and into your eye, causing what is known as diabetic retinopathy.
Your retina is the part of your eye that takes the picture in from the outside world and transmits it to your brain. It is full of the photo receptors with which we see. Blood leaking from its weakened or swollen vessels is toxic to these sensitive cells, and over time will damage them to the point where you begin to lose your vision.
How To Address Diabetes And Your Eyes
Although there are some things that can be done to stop or slow the damage diabetes causes to your retina, the best thing to do is take preventative measures.
Keeping your blood sugar under tight control through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and consistently taking any medication your primary care physician may have prescribed is crucial to preventing diabetic retinopathy.
Regular Eye Health Exams
Anyone who has diabetes needs to have at least one dilated eye exam per year. Your optometrist will need to take a thorough look at the health of your retina. Using drops that dilate your pupil, he or she will be able to look inside your eye to make sure there is no swelling or damage to any blood vessels. This eye health check is different than a routine vision screening. It is a medical exam, and will be billed to your medical health insurance.
If your eye doctor sees any signs of diabetic retinopathy, he or she will first encourage you to be sure to get your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol under tighter control to prevent further bleeding.
However, if the bleeding and swelling is too out of control, your eye doctor will refer you out to an ophthalmologist, who will evaluate your eyes for possible laser surgery or injections to stop the bleeding.
A Proactive Approach Can Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy
Although diabetes has the potential to damage your eyes and steal your vision, it doesn’t have to. With a proactive approach, you and your doctors can curb the effects diabetes can have on your eyes.
Want to know more about diabetes and your eyes? At Vision Source Meadville, both of our doctors can educate you more about the effects of diabetes on your eyes, as well as perform thorough diabetic eye exams. Call us today at 814-333-6606 to schedule your appointment!