How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes?

Diabetes is a disease that can affect several parts of the body, including the eyes. A diabetic eye exam is imperative for those who have been diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Eyes can be affected in a number of ways, including diabetic retinopathy, a complication that can lead to vision loss and blindness if not treated.

If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends you have your first eye exam within a year of your diagnosis to check for retinopathy. At Pearle Vision, our eye doctors are able to determine whether you’re experiencing any diabetic eye problems. Arrange an appointment at your neighbourhood Pearle Vision EyeCare Centre to check and diagnose the health of your eyes.

Common Diabetic Eye Problems

How does diabetes affect the eyes? There are several ways diabetes can affect your eyes and vision. The four most common conditions are:

1.Diabetic Retinopathy: This is a condition that damages vessels around the eye’s retina. Mild cases will typically have no symptoms, however, in severe states it can cause the retina to detach. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Treatment: Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. First and foremost, a patient should work with their primary physician to manage blood sugar levels. In mild cases, an eye doctor may suggest you return for an annual exam for careful monitoring. In more severe cases, surgery or laser treatment may be necessary.

2. Glaucoma: People with diabetes are at high risk for glaucoma, a condition where pressure builds up inside your eye. This can lead to nerve damage and vision loss.

Treatment: This condition often has no symptoms until later stages. Going in for an annual exam can help detect the problem early on and prevent vision loss. Treatment will involve lowering the pressure in your eyes through prescription medications, surgery, or laser treatment.

3. Cataracts: This is a condition where a cloudy area forms over your eye’s lens, resulting in blurry vision. While this often occurs in aging eyes, people with diabetes tend to get cataracts earlier on with worse symptoms.

Treatment: An eye doctor can help catch cataracts early on and recommend surgery to remove the cloudy area before your vision affects your daily activities.

4. Blurry Vision: High blood sugar can cause your eye’s lens to swell, resulting in blurry vision.

Treatment: To correct this, you’ll need to regulate your blood sugar. It may take up to three months for your vision to return to normal. Arrange an appointment with your eye doctor to make sure it isn’t something more serious.

Preventing Diabetic Eye Problems

The best way to reduce or eliminate diabetes eyes symptoms is to control your blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can do the following to help prevent diabetic eye issues:

  • Arrange regular appointments with your primary physician to help regulate and maintain your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Attend annual eye exams to check on the health of your eyes
  • Contact your doctor right away if anything changes with your health or your vision
  • Avoid smoking or using tobacco products
  • Maintain a healthy weight

When To Arrange an Eye Exam

Whether you have diabetes or not, we recommend coming in for an annual eye exam to check the health of your eyes. An eye exam can help catch any changes in your vision early on and prevent long-term damage. Arrange an appointment at your neighbourhood Pearle Vision EyeCare Centre.


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