If you have diabetes or your blood sugar levels are too high, your eyes can be damaged over time. Your retina, which is responsible for seeing clearly, is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye.
- Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults.
- Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy. DME is swelling in an area of the retina called the macula.
- Cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. Adults with diabetes are 2-5 times more likely than those without diabetes to develop cataract. Cataract also tends to develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.
- Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve— the bundle of nerve fibers that connects the eye to the brain. Some types of glaucoma are associated with elevated pressure inside the eye. In adults, diabetes nearly doubles the risk of glaucoma.
Steps to Help Prevent Diabetic Eye Diseases
1. Get a comprehensive dilated eye examination from your ophthalmologist at least
once a year: Regularly monitoring your eyes’ health allows your ophthalmologist to
begin treatment as soon as possible if signs of disease do appear.
2. Control your blood sugar: When your blood sugar is too high, it can affect
the shape of your eye’s lens, causing blurry vision, which goes back to normal after
your blood sugar stabilizes. High blood sugarcan also damage the blood vessels in your
high cholesterol can put you at greater risk for eye disease and vision loss.
4. Quit smoking: If you smoke, your risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-
related eye diseases is higher
5. Exercise: Regular exercise can help your eyes stay as healthy as possible while
helping to control your diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Diseases
You won't usually notice diabetic retinopathy in the early stages, as it doesn't tend to
have any obvious symptoms until it's more advanced.
However, early signs of the condition can be picked up by taking photographs of the
eyes during diabetic eye screening.
Contact your general practitioner or diabetes care team immediately if you
- Spots or dark strings floating in your vision
- Blurred vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Impaired color vision
- Dark or empty areas in your vision
- Vision loss
These symptoms don't necessarily mean you have diabetic eye diseases, but it's
important to get them checked out. Don't wait until your next screening appointment.
How to Treat Diabetic Eye Diseases
Treatment for diabetic eye diseases is only necessary if screening detects significant
problems that mean your vision is at risk.
If the condition hasn't reached this stage, the above advice on managing your diabetes
The main treatments for more advanced diabetic eye disease are:
1. Laser treatment
2. Injections of medication into your eyes
3. An operation to remove blood or scar tissue from your eyes
How Common Are the other Diabetic Eye Diseases?
have the disease. Also, cataracts develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.
Cataracts can usually be treated by surgery.
Glaucoma may also become a problem. A person with diabetes is nearly twice as
likely to get glaucoma as other adults. And the longer you have had diabetes,
the greater your risk of getting glaucoma. Glaucoma may be treated with
medications, laser, or other forms of surgery.
Finding and treating the disease early before it causes vision loss or blindness is the best
way to control diabetic eye disease. Do not forgot that working out and maintaining a
healthy blood sugar level are two ways that aid preventing diabetic eye diseases. Spike can
help you maintain your blood sugar level by reminding you to take your insulin injections
multiple times a day.