Did you know that November is National Diabetes Month? People often think of diabetes as a nutritional issue, but it affects more than just your diet. How does diabetes affect the eyes?
While diabetes is increasingly common in the United States, there are still a number of misunderstandings people tend to have about the condition. The more you know about diabetes, the better control you can take of your health.
One of the important things to understand about diabetes is that it is a complex disease that affects many systems in the human body. Diabetes affects how your body processes glucose, or blood sugar. When the body has an excess of glucose, it can throw your bodily systems into chaos. One of the systems most affected by diabetes is vision. So, how does diabetes affect the eyes?
How Does Diabetes Affect the Eyes?
Diabetes is a significant cause of vision complications for many people. Among other issues, it’s the most commonly cited cause of blindness for people between the ages of 20 and 74. The following are some of the most common diabetes-related vision issues:
High blood sugar is bad for your eyes in a number of ways. One problem that it can cause is blurry vision. Having too much glucose in your blood can cause the lens of your eyes to swell, blurring and distorting your vision. This problem can be solved by getting your blood sugar back into the range recommended by your doctor.
Another issue that diabetes can worsen is cataracts. Cataracts occur when the inner lens of the eye becomes “cloudy,” blurring or blocking your vision. Diabetes can cause cataracts or make an existing issue with cataracts worse.
Glaucoma is probably the most infamous diabetes-related eye condition. With glaucoma, the internal pressure of the eye rises to dangerous levels. Nerves and blood vessels are damaged as a result. Major vision loss can also occur without warning. It is extremely important to catch the condition before serious damage occurs.
Of the ways diabetes can affect your eyes, diabetic retinopathy is one of the most dangerous. With this condition, the small blood vessels that keep your retina healthy are damaged by high blood sugar and internal eye pressure. Individuals with diabetes should be aware that unlike the other conditions listed above, it can be difficult or impossible to reverse the blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy.
How Can I Manage My Vision If I Have Diabetes?
If you have diabetes, this may feel like a lot of bad news. However, there’s good news too. You can significantly lower your risk of vision issues by doing the following:
- Be sure to make regular appointments with your optometrist to monitor any diabetes-related vision changes. If you have sudden and significant changes in vision, such as blurry vision or excessive “floaters,” make an appointment right away.
- Follow your doctor’s advice on how to manage your condition. Consider lifestyle changes that can make diabetes easier to live with, such as increased exercise or a low-sugar diet.
If you don’t have diabetes, that’s great news! Do what you can to avoid it. If you do develop diabetes, make sure your optometrist is aware, and ask them to help you make a treatment plan that will work for you.
How does diabetes affect the eyes? Essentially, it can cause blindness and other vision issues if it’s not kept under control. If you have more questions, be sure to ask your optometrist.
Are you looking for an optometrist to help you manage your eye health? If you live near southwest Missouri, stop by Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location).