How Diabetes Can Damage Your Vision
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects more than 37 million U.S. adults. It affects the body’s ability to convert food into energy. Our
bodies break down most of the food we eat into glucose (sugar) and release it into the bloodstream. Diabetes blocks the proper regulation of glucose, preventing its absorption by your cells. As time progresses, diabetes can cause issues with your blood vessels, leading to kidney disease, heart disease, and limb amputations.
Other side effects of diabetes are total vision loss and eye disease. The most common eye diseases are listed below:
- Diabetic Retinopathy – This occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina. Damaged blood vessels may swell and leak, stopping blood flow and causing blurry vision. The longer you have diabetes the more likely you’ll develop diabetic retinopathy.
- Diabetic Macular Edema – Fluid that has leaked from the blood vessels can spill into the macula. The macula, located in the center of the retina, controls central vision and vision for fine details. Fluid buildup leads to macular swelling and vision loss.
- Cataracts – Cataracts cloud the lenses and can occur as you age, though people with diabetes are more likely to develop them. This is because high blood sugar levels can cause deposits to build in the lenses, making them cloudy.
- Glaucoma – Glaucoma is damage of the optic nerve, which can be caused by too much pressure in the eye. It may cause a slow decrease in vision that can go unnoticed. Catching it early is key to preventing it from worsening.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for diabetes. Yet, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to treat and prevent it.
Keys to Diabetic Prevention and Treatment
- Practice healthful eating: This is easier said than done, especially since Halloween is just around the corner. Step away from the candy corn and bob for an apple instead.
- Stay active: Walking, running, biking, and other forms of exercise are great ways to manage your weight.
- Take medicine as prescribed: Consistency is key. Take your medications at the time of day and the way your doctor advises.
- Get educated: Talk to your primary care physician about how diabetes affects you and specific options to combat its negative effects.
- Schedule and keep healthcare appointments: Your appointments are essential and help to keep you and your primary care physician updated on your overall health and any progression of diabetes-related issues.
If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, diabetes, or if you have a family history of this potentially devastating disease, it is extremely important to see your eye doctor and other medical professionals. Regular eye exams lead to early detection. Early detection ensures prompt treatment and possible prevention of further damage to your eyes.
If you have diabetes-related vision problems or need a comprehensive eye exam, please contact The Eye Center, with locations in Huntsville and Madison, at 256-705-3937.