Prevention of diabetes-related eye conditions must be a priority if you have diabetes. Diabetes can damage your vision and eyes over time. Worse, it can cause blindness. Fortunately, managing your condition and undergoing regular eye exams at Berris Optical can stop your eye condition from worsening and prevent vision problems.
Your body either does not produce or does not respond to insulin when you have diabetes. Insulin delivers glucose to the body cells. Too much insulin in the bloodstream can damage blood vessels and nerves. That includes the nerves and blood vessels in the eyes. Some of the ways diabetes can affect your eyes include:
This condition occurs when high blood sugar damages retinal blood vessels, causing them to swell and leak. That leads to blurry vision or diminished blood flow. It can also lead to abnormal blood vessels in the eyes that can cause further vision issues. Diabetic retinopathy typically affects both eyes.
It can develop in anyone with type 1, 2, or gestational diabetes. The longer you live with diabetes, the higher your risk of developing this eye condition. Other factors that can increase your risk include:
Excessively high levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar
Diabetic retinopathy has two main stages.
During the early stage, retinal blood vessels weaken, bulge, and form tiny pouches. Only an eye doctor can detect these pouches through an eye screening. They can leak blood and other fluid, causing the macula to swell and distorting your vision. Swelling of the macula, or macula edema, is one of the most common causes of blindness; around 50 percent of people with diabetic retinopathy develop this complication.
During the proliferative stage, new blood vessels begin to grow in the retina. They are fragile and often bleed into the clear gel between the retina and the lens. Minor bleeding can cause floaters in your vision. However, severe bleeding can lead to severe vision blockage. Doctors recommend regular dilated eye exams to catch issues early when treatment is most effective.
A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens. Though the usually transparent lens tends to get cloudy as you age, you are more likely to develop cataracts if you have diabetes and at a younger age. High blood glucose can lead to the buildup of deposits in the lenses, making them cloudy.
Cataract surgery is the only way to treat this condition. However, you do not have to undergo the procedure right away. Using antiglare sunglasses outside and brighter lights in your home can help in the early stages. When your condition starts affecting your daily activities, it may be time for surgery.
Glaucoma describes a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. Unfortunately, many forms of glaucoma do not have early symptoms. You may not notice your gradual vision loss. People with diabetes are more likely to develop open-angle and neovascular glaucoma. Fortunately, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent it from worsening.
The eye conditions discussed above can lead to vision loss. Fortunately, early diagnosis and treatment can help protect your eyesight and eye health. That is why doctors recommend regular comprehensive eye exams and diabetic eye screening for people with diabetes.
For more on diabetes-related eye conditions, visit Berris Optical at our Rocky River, Ohio office. Call 440-571-7100 to schedule an appointment today.