People who have had diabetes for years risk developing eye complications. The condition can lead to vision loss or blindness. Diabetes can lead to eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular edema, and diabetic retinopathy.
Regular eye exams and managing your diabetes can reduce the risk of developing eye complications. Learn more about managing diabetes to prevent complications.
Diabetes-Related Eye Diseases
For individuals with diabetes, an eye examination can reveal an eye disease. The diseases can lead to changes in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy and macular edema are the most common diseases that affect people with diabetes.
Diabetes can also increase the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma. Advances in testing technology can detect problems before they cause severe retinal changes. Testing is vital because the diseases may not have symptoms in the early stages.
Damaged Retinal Blood Vessels
Tiny blood vessels nourish the retina. Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels, causing them to leak. The fluid leaks into the retinal tissue, causing vision problems known as non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
The retina thickens, leading to blurry vision. The swelling of the macula, linked to diabetes, is known as diabetic macular edema. High blood sugar can cause the formation of new blood vessels, which is known as proliferative retinopathy.
Developing Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a relatively common condition among people with diabetes. It is a leading cause of blindness in adults. The condition occurs when high blood sugar damages the retina's blood vessels.
The damaged vessels swell and leak, which can lead to restricted blood flow and blurry vision. In some cases, new abnormal blood vessels grow, causing further vision complications. The condition usually affects both eyes.
Signs of Diabetes-Related Eye Diseases
Vision complications from diabetes usually happen over time. People with 20/20 vision can develop diabetic retinopathy. Early signs of the condition include the following:
Difficulty with night vision
Blurry vision in one eye
Seeing spots or floaters
Eye pain or redness
Loss of peripheral vision
If you experience vision changes, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible. Over time, diabetic patients develop vision loss or blindness. Regular dilated eye exams can help to detect early symptoms of diabetes-related diseases.
Managing Your Diabetes
If you have diabetes, managing your condition can help to prevent vision complications. You can take several steps to reduce your risk of developing vision loss. The steps include the following:
Schedule regular dilated eye exams
Manage your blood sugar levels
Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Take your medications as directed
Eat a healthy diet
Stay active through regular exercise
Prompt treatment can prevent vision loss. Annual dilated eye exams allow doctors to diagnose eye diseases early.
The proliferation of new blood vessels can lead to the growth of scar tissue on the back eye wall. It can stretch the retina, causing it to separate, a condition known as retinal detachment. It can happen suddenly or gradually. So, managing your condition can help to prevent or slow down vision loss.
For more information or to book a visit, call Clarke EyeCare Center at our offices in Wichita Falls 940-905-0700 or Burkburnett 940-569-4131, Texas.