A diabetic eye disease is a group of eye problems that result from controlled diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. Over time, diabetes can cause eye damage, leading to poor vision and, in extreme cases, blindness. However, you can take steps to prevent diabetic eye disease San Antonio or prevent the condition from worsening.
Managing your blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure is the best way to control diabetes and keep your eyes healthy. It is also vital to quit smoking if you do and have a dilated eye exam at least once a year.
How does diabetes affect my eyes?
High sugar levels in your bloodstream due to diabetes may affect your eyes.
You are less likely to have vision loss from high blood glucose in the short term. However, people sometimes experience blurry vision when changing their diabetes care plan or medicines; this side effect often lasts a few days or weeks. Too much glucose change fluid levels or causes swelling in the eye tissues that help you focus. As a result, your vision may become blurry. Fortunately, this blurred vision is temporary and goes away when your sugar level returns to normal.
If diabetes is uncontrolled and blood glucose stays high, over time, it can damage the small blood vessels in the back of your eyes. The damage can begin during prediabetes when your blood glucose is higher than usual but not too high for you to be diagnosed with diabetes. Damaged blood vessels may leak fluid in your eyes, causing swelling. New, weak blood vessels may also develop and bleed into the middle part of the eyes, leading to scarring. Fluid leakage can also cause dangerous high pressure inside your eyes.
Many vision problems resulting from diabetes begin with issues in the blood vessels. Below are four diseases that can threaten your sight.
The retina is the inner lining at the back of your eyes; it senses light and turns it into signals your brain can decode, allowing you to see the world around you. When your blood vessels are damaged due to high blood sugar, they can weaken, bulge, or leak into the retina. During the later stages of diabetic retinopathy, some blood vessels close off, causing the growth of new blood vessels on the retina’s surface.
Diabetic macular edema
The macula is the part of your retina used for reading and seeing faces. Diabetes can cause swelling in the macula and, over time, destroy the sharp vision in this part of the eyes, causing partial vision loss or blindness. This disease is most likely to develop in people with other signs of diabetic retinopathy.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the nerve bundles that connect the eye to the brain (optic nerve). If not treated early, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness.
Cataracts develop when your eye lenses become cloudy, leading to poor vision. Usually, the lenses within your eyes are clear structures that provide sharp vision. Although eye lenses tend to become cloudy with age, people with diabetes can develop cataracts earlier than those without diabetes.
If you have diabetes, visit your specialist at Alamo Eye Care for a dilated eye exam to prevent diabetic eye disease.