Your eye health can be affected by a number of different conditions including diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition that is a result of your body’s inability to make enough insulin. If you don’t manage your diabetes well, it can eventually affect your eye health. But how exactly does diabetes affect the eyes? Let’s take a look.
Diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to produce or respond to insulin properly. Insulin is the hormone that delivers blood sugar or glucose to the cells in the body. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in the bloodstream and with so much glucose outside of the cells, it can damage blood vessels and nerves throughout the body including in the eyes. This can lead to several eye conditions including diabetic eye disease.
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that can occur from the complications caused by unmanaged diabetes. These conditions can lead to blindness and vision loss if not diagnosed and treated early. Diabetic eye disease includes the following eye conditions:
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar damages the small blood vessels in the retina. This can occur to people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and the longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk is. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include dark spots or floaters in the eye, blurred vision, and vision loss.
The macula is located near the center of the retina. It’s responsible for your central vision and helps you see things directly in front of you. Macular edema occurs when fluids build up on the retina and causes swelling and blurred vision.
Diabetes can also cause glaucoma. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. Unfortunately, in its early stages, glaucoma does not have many noticeable symptoms so you may not realize you have it.
In later stages, you may notice blurry vision, headaches, eye pain, and halos around lights. People with diabetes have double the chance of developing glaucoma.
Unstable blood sugar can also lead to cataracts forming in the eyes. This typically causes foggy vision, difficulty seeing at night, and sensitivity to light. Surgery to remove the clouded lens from the eyes is often necessary.
The best way to prevent diabetes-related eye problems is to manage your diabetes as best you can. If you smoke, quitting smoking can help as well. It’s also recommended to get a dilated eye exam at least once a year. The ophthalmologists at Advanced Eye Surgeons can detect most eye conditions early and ensure you get the treatment you need.
Receiving an annual eye exam at least once a year can help you avoid diabetic eye disease as well as many other eye conditions. At Advanced Eye Surgeons in Tamarac and Boca Raton, FL., our experienced staff is committed to helping you protect your eye health. Contact us today to schedule an eye exam with Dr. Gupta, Dr. Greenberg, or Dr. Pereira.