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How Diabetes Affects Your Eyes

Mar 1, 2024 | Diabetes, Diabetic Eye Exam, Eye Diseases

When we think of diabetes, we often think of how it affects our heart or kidneys. But did you know diabetes can also damage our eyes? It’s true! One of the lesser-known complications of diabetes is diabetic eye disease. Diabetic eye disease is a leading cause of vision loss, and it can have a significant impact on your quality of life. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how diabetes affects your eyes, what diabetic eye disease is, and how you can protect your vision.  

What is diabetic eye disease? 

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions that can affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. If left untreated, they can lead to vision loss or even blindness.

1. Diabetic retinopathy

One of the most common eye problems related to diabetes is called diabetic retinopathy. This happens when the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye (the retina) get damaged and start leaking or bleeding. Eventually, scar tissue may form, which can cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye, leading to permanent vision loss.  

The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy usually doesn’t have any early warning signs, which is why people with diabetes should get regular eye exams to catch any changes in their eyes.

2. Cataracts

Another way that diabetes can affect your eyes is by causing cataracts. A cataract is when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy, leading to blurred vision and sensitivity to light. People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age compared to those without diabetes.

3. Glaucoma

Diabetes can also increase your risk of developing glaucoma, a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss and blindness. People with diabetes are up to twice as likely to get glaucoma compared to those without diabetes. 

Prevention and management 

To keep your eyes healthy and manage diabetic eye disease, here are some tips to follow: 

  • Make sure you eat healthy and stay active 
  • Quit smoking if applicable 
  • Manage your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol 
  • Visit your eye doctor regularly and let them know about any vision changes 

Importance of eye exams 

It’s crucial to schedule regular eye exams with your eye doctor, especially if you have diabetes. They can spot early signs of diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions, helping you manage your condition before it gets worse and causes permanent vision loss. 

At Vision Salon Eye Care Associates in Blue Island, Illinois, our expert eye doctors specialize in diagnosing and developing treatment plans for those with diabetic eye disease to help prevent and manage complications. Options for treating diabetic eye disease can include medication, laser therapy, or surgery, depending on the severity of your condition. If surgery is necessary, we work with trusted ophthalmic surgeons in the area who provide the highest level of surgical and ophthalmological diabetic and retinal care. Schedule an appointment and take the first step to protect your vision.