Do you know the connection between diabetes and your eyes? The raised blood sugar levels that are the essence of the disease can harm your eyes in various ways.
There are a few ways that diabetes, especially when it is not controlled by medication, diet or exercise, can cause damage to your eyes.
Diabetic retinopathy refers to a leading cause of vision loss in adults. This condition occurs when increased blood sugar levels cause the retinal blood vessels in the retina to suffer blockages. As a result, these small blood vessels often leak causing irreparable retinal damage. Often a process called neovascularization occurs where new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina, which may also leak, causing further damage.
Located at the back of the eye, the retina is an essential component for proper vision. Retinal damage can result in irreversible blindness. While controlling diabetes reduces the chances of developing diabetic retinopathy, it does not entirely eliminate the risk and therefore it is essential to have your eyes examined each year if you have diabetes.
Glucose levels that fluctuate periodically can also impact vision. Because blood sugar levels have an impact on the ability of your lens to focus, this can result in blurry vision that fluctuates with blood sugar levels.
Diabetics have a greater chance to develop cataracts, a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes clouded, which causes vision problems. Cataracts are a common condition that comes with aging, but develops earlier in life in people with diabetes.
Glaucoma, which is a result of elevated interoptic fluid pressure, can lead to blindness. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma.
Having your diabetes in control is the best form of prevention for any of the diabetic eye diseases. As well as controlling levels of blood sugar by means of diet and/or insulin, it's important to exercise and refrain from smoking. Additionally, it is imperative to have regular annual checkups with an eye doctor to identify any developing damage early on. While in many cases any loss of sight caused by diabetic eye disease of any kind is permanent, further vision loss can be stopped by early diagnosis.