Unfortunately, many people are not informed about the effects diabetes can have on your eyes. Diabetes is a disease that affects the metabolic process that results in increased blood sugar levels either because of insufficient production of insulin or because the body does not efficiently make use of the insulin it produces (depending on the type of diabetes).
The risk of vision loss is increased when diabetes is not controlled. Diabetic eye disease can appear in a number of forms.
The most common diabetic eye disease, called diabetic retinopathy, is a leading cause of blindness in adults. This condition occurs when excessive glucose levels cause the retinal blood vessels in the retina to suffer blockages. Consequently, these small blood vessels often leak resulting in permanent retinal damage.
The retina is the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye, which is an essential component for proper vision. Damage to the retina can result in irreversible blindness. While controlling diabetes can reduce the likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy, it does not totally eliminate the risk and this is why it is strongly recommended to have your eyes checked at least once a year if you have diabetes.
Glucose levels that fluctuate periodically can also impact vision. Due to the fact that glucose levels have an impact on your lens's ability to focus, this can result in blurry vision that varies with blood sugar levels.
Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes clouded and can also develop as a result of living with diabetes. Even though cataracts are common in people over a certain age, the likelihood of having the condition earlier is higher in diabetics.
A person with diabetes is twice as likely to develop glaucoma, an elevation in pressure in the optic nerve which causes damage to the optic nerve and ultimately vision loss.
Having control of your diabetes is the best form of prevention for any of the eye and vision problems associated with the disease. As well as maintaining proper levels of blood sugar through diet and/or insulin, it's important to exercise and refrain from smoking. Additionally, it is essential to schedule regular yearly retinal exams with an eye doctor to find any damage at the earliest stages. Even though in many cases vision loss caused by any of these conditions is permanent, further loss of sight can be stopped by early detection.