More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes can impact many body parts and functions but can be especially serious for your eyes. In fact, diabetes is the top cause of blindness in adults between the ages of 20 and 74. That’s why it’s so important to keep up with your regular eye doctor visits, as high blood sugar can lead to anything from blurry vision and cataracts to retinopathy and glaucoma, says WebMD.
Let’s go over the many ways in which diabetes can affect your vision:
No one is immune to cataracts no matter what your age. But those with diabetes usually get them earlier than others who don’t have diabetes. Plus, the cataracts progress more rapidly in diabetics. Cataracts cloud your vision, resulting in blurred vision and glare, the only remedy to which is through surgery. This surgery involves replacing the old lens with a new one so you can see clearly again.
Don’t just rush out and buy new glasses or contacts because you’re seeing blurry. Make an appointment with your eye doctor first, as that blurriness may be from high blood sugar caused by diabetes. You will have to ensure your sugar levels get back into the target range under the direction of your eye doctor. This process could take up to three months.
The retina creates images that the optic nerve transmits to the brain for processing. When the small blood vessels become damaged, diabetic retinopathy can result, which is closely related to high blood sugar levels. Early treatment is a must if you want to avoid blindness. Your risk of this condition will only go up if you ignore it.
Specifically, if you have type 1 diabetes, you could develop it after five or more years from the time you were diagnosed. But when you stay on top of your blood sugar through the administering of insulin every day, your diabetic retinopathy risk is lowered. If you have type 2 diabetes, you will likely experience symptoms right at the time of diagnosis. In both cases, it’s vital to control blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.
With build-up in eye pressure, this prevents fluid from draining out like it should, which leads to nerve and blood vessel damage. This affects your vision. And while medication can lower pressure and ensure better drainage, it needs to be caught and treated right away for best results. Your eye doctor will see these effects in an annual exam, but don’t hesitate to make an appointment in between yearly exams if you think there’s a problem – particularly if you are a diabetic.
These problems may include:
- Blurred vision
- Eye aches
- Halos that form around bright lights
- Vision loss
Treatment includes medicine, eye drops and surgery. But early treatment is critical in all cases. Make your appointment with Simon Eye Associates today at 302-239-1933 or complete our online form. We have several convenient locations throughout Delaware.