Diabetic Eye Disease: What Is It?

Eye Health
By: Spirit Dental
October 3, 2020

Diabetic man using a blood glucose monitor

Did you know that diabetes can lead to eye problems, and it can even potentially cause blindness? Scary, but true—and yet another reason why it’s so important to control your blood sugar if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. 

Below is a brief look at what diabetic eye disease is, and how you can protect your peepers so you can continue seeing clearly.  

Diabetic Eye Disease: Multiple Conditions That Can Affect Your Vision

Diabetic eye disease isn’t a single condition. Instead, it’s a group of conditions that can affect the health of your eyes and take their toll on your vision when you have diabetes. 
  • Glaucoma – Diabetes causes your risk of developing glaucoma to double. There are different types of glaucoma, which may lead to excessive pressure in the eye. It can affect your vision, and it might even cause blindness if you don’t treat it. Your doctor might recommend medications, drops, laser treatments, or surgical procedures to resolve this problem. 
  • Cataracts – This condition affects the lens of the eye, causing it to become cloudy, and causing your vision to suffer as a result. Although this problem can occur with age, diabetics are at an increased risk of developing cataracts, and of being diagnosed at a younger age. In terms of treatment, there is a surgery to replace the lens. 
  • Diabetic retinopathy – This condition can result in vision problems because of damaged blood vessels. It’s the most common cause of loss of vision in diabetics, and it affects roughly one in every three diabetics who are older than 40. Treatment options include injections, laser treatment, and surgery. 
  • Diabetic macular edema – This problem can occur as a complication of diabetic retinopathy. When fluid leaks into the macula, it can lead to swelling that results in vision loss, and it may lead to blindness. Treatment options include injections, medications, and laser surgery. 


Wait, How Is It Possible That Diabetes Affects the Eyes?

By now, you might be wondering how your blood sugar could possibly affect your eyes and vision. 

Put simply, when your blood sugar is too high, your vision may become blurry because of changes in fluid levels in the eyes, or because of swelling in the eyes. 

The good news is that this blurriness might go away on its own once you get your blood sugar back down to normal. If you don’t get your blood sugar under control, however, and it remains high for too long, the blood vessels in the eyes may become damaged, leading to other problems, such as swelling, pressure, and scarring. 

How to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

Because diabetes is a condition that can affect the health of your eyes, it’s wise to take steps daily to control it. 

1. Consult with your doctor to learn about the ways you can effectively manage your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. If these are high, and you aren’t treating these problems, your risk of diabetic eye disease is likely to increase. 

2. Have your eyes and vision examined on a regular basis, such as once a year. This is imperative because you won’t always experience obvious symptoms even though damage is occurring. Your eye doctor can dilate your eyes, as well as use various tools, to determine the health of your retina, the pressure in your eyes, and more. Catching problems in their earliest stages, and treating them right away, is best. 

3. Establish healthier lifestyle habits. For example, if you can improve the way you eat, go for it! If you smoke, it’s a great idea to quit, especially since it’s capable of boosting the risk of diabetic eye disease. And if you aren’t active, diving into a strong workout routine is also smart. 

Take Great Care of Your Eyes!

In addition to working with your physician to learn about the many ways to keep your blood sugar stable, it’s also necessary to see an eye doctor regularly when you have diabetes. And, with the right vision insurance, you’ll be able to afford trips to your favorite eye care professional who can examine your vision and prescribe glasses or contacts so you can see clearly.  

The bottom line is this: whether or not you have diabetes, it’s necessary to take excellent care of your eyes in order to preserve your vision. But if you do have diabetes, you need to take extra steps to ensure you’re managing the condition daily. 

Just remember, your blood sugar can affect your vision. So, by keeping your blood sugar in check, you’ll also be working on keeping your eyes as healthy as possible. 



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