Diabetes and the health of your eyes are closely linked. If you’ve been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, understanding this link can help lower your risk of various eye diseases.
In this article, we’ll provide a complete guide to how diabetes can impact your eyes – and how to protect your vision as a diabetic.
Diabetes and Eye Diseases
Diabetes can directly contribute to the development of multiple eye conditions, including:
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye. When these blood vessels are damaged, they may swell, leak, or even close, keeping blood from moving through them. In some cases, new blood vessels form on the retina. These changes can compromise your vision.
In the long term, elevated blood sugar levels can contribute to structural changes in the eye’s lens. These changes can speed up the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, known as cataracts.
Patients with diabetes have double the risk of developing glaucoma. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that involve optic nerve damage, and it can result from unmanaged diabetic retinopathy. When it’s left untreated, glaucoma can cause vision loss.
Protecting Your Vision with Diabetes
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, the best way to protect your eyes is to manage your blood sugar levels and attend yearly eye exams.
In the early stages of diabetes-related eye conditions, you may not have noticeable symptoms. But, early intervention is essential to prevent vision loss and permanent damage to the eyes. So, make sure to attend all recommended eye exams – at least one per year. Your optometrist can perform a range of tests and examine your eyes to identify potential warning signs.
Dr. Mahootchi is a type 1 diabetic with a particular interest and perspective in preventing diabetes-related vision loss. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!