There are millions of Americans today who are suffering from prediabetes and diabetes. The fluctuations of the blood sugar levels often lead to many health complications including eye problems.
If it is not controlled properly, diabetes can lead to eye different eye diseases that can leave you blind. According to the National Institutes of Health, diabetes is one of the primary contributing factors of blindness among adults between the age range of 20 to 74.
There are several eye problems caused by high blood sugar but below are the most common:
Patients with diabetes are susceptible to cataracts due to the fluctuations of their blood sugar levels. It is an eye disease characterized by the cloudy formations in the lens which causes blurry vision. Cataract is a common eye diseases typically plaguing older adults. However, diabetics are at a higher risk of developing this problem.
During your annual eye exam, your optometrist will screen for cataracts. If necessary, he or she will refer you to an ophthalmologist for a surgery – a procedure that removes the cloudy area around the lens.
High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in your eyes to leak. The pressure from the excess fluid in the eyes are responsible for the vision loss associated with the disease glaucoma.
Because glaucoma does not have any serious symptoms (usually discomfort and blurry vision only), a patient can gradually lose his or her vision without even knowing they have this illness.
Majority of glaucoma sufferers already experience the symptoms in the late stage of the disease or if the eye pressure is already causing pain and halo effects in their vision. If left untreated, glaucoma can damage your optic nerve and potentially cause permanent blindness.
Eye drops can usually alleviate its symptoms and can easily be thought of as dry eyes. So if you are suffering from high blood sugar levels, blurry vision that comes and goes, it is best to get your eye checked immediately.
Knowing the severity of your case will determine the care and treatment you need. Consult with an eye specialist right away to determine what kind of treatment you need.
The most serious visual complications caused by diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, or also called microvascular complication. This disease affects both type 1 and type 2 diabetes sufferers.
Diabetic retinopathy causes bulges in the tiny blood vessels that serve nutrients to the retina. Over time, these bulges will eventually break and burst, causing fluids to leak into the retina. There are two types of retinopathy: non-proliferative and proliferative.
Non-proliferative retinopathy causes blindness but not as a result of abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina. Proliferative retinopathy by contrast is caused by the growth of new blood vessels in the retina that can burst and cause scar tissues to form. This is considered as the most serious type.
Each of these types can pose serious damage to your eyes. If you are diabetic and you are already noticing issues regarding your vision, visit your doctor right away. If caught early on, retinopathy is preventable. Treatments for retinopathy typically include laser procedures or eye surgery.
Prevention and Treatment
As diabetes is the root cause of these eye problems, make sure that you keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible.
If the eye problems are still at the earlier stages, your doctor might suggest laser treatments. This is a procedure wherein a light beam is aimed into the retina of the damaged eye. The beams helps close off the leaking vessels and slows down the loss of sight.
If your eye care provider sees blood leaking into your retina, he will most likely suggest that you take the surgery called vitrectomy. It is a procedure that removes the fluids and blood from your vitreous and replace clean fluid back into your eye.
As soon as you get diagnosed of diabetes, get your eyes checked even before any symptom shows. Your eye care professional can already determine whether or not your eyes are starting to get damaged.