During your last checkup, your doctor told you that your glucose level was high. They want to start monitoring you for diabetes. They also recommended several diet and exercise changes to bring your glucose level back down. If you need motivation to prevent diabetes from becoming a part of your life, consider how it can affect your vision. Here is what you need to know about diabetes and your eyesight.
Increased Pressure in the Eye
Diabetes increases your risk of developing glaucoma. The drainage of fluid from inside of the eyeball is blocked, allowing the fluid to build up. The pressure increases in the eye, which can eventually restrict the blood supply to your retina. The retina will become slow to respond to light and your vision becomes blurry. You'll see rings of light (halos) around objects and be unable to focus clearly. If this becomes severe, permanent damage to the retina can occur with partial loss of sight.
An optometrist can monitor the pressure and offer eye drops and surgery to relieve the stress on the retina. Controlling diabetes is a better way to prevent glaucoma from developing.
Cataracts occur more frequently in people who have diabetes. This is a buildup of protein strands in the lens of the eye. As this protein accumulates, it makes the lens foggy. Your vision becomes blurry and objects appear darker as more light is blocked. It's harder to focus clearly on objects. Glasses will help with blurry vision, but the cataracts will continue to grow until you can't focus your eyes at all.
The optometrist will recommend a procedure to remove the cloudy lenses and replace them with an artificial lens. Your vision will improve, but you may need to wear contacts or glasses for near and distance vision.
Diabetes affects the integrity of blood vessels, which can be the cause of two eye related illnesses.
- Nonproliferative retinopathy - Tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye swell and prevent the blood from passing through. The vessels let blood pool and eventually leak out onto the retina. Your vision becomes blurry and it's difficult to focus. As the leaking continues, you'll start to notice dark shapes in your vision where the blood is blocking light from hitting the retina. You may even lose part of your vision.
- Proliferative retinopathy - If the above condition continues, the weak blood vessels will create scar tissue on the surface of the retina. This scar tissue will pull on the retina and can cause it to detach from the wall of the eye. Blindness is the result of a detached retina.
Diabetes affects many aspects of your health. The threat of diabetes to your vision should be motivation to take your doctor's suggestions and reverse the signs of this disease during your next checkup.
For more information, contact a Surrey optometrist.