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Diabetic Eye Disease: Symptoms And Prevention

Diabetes is a health condition that is due to varying levels of blood sugar. It occurs if the levels of blood glucose are too high, caused by the foods we eat. The disease can cause other complications as well and, at times, results in diabetic eye disease. Initially, diabetic eye disease symptoms won’t be too noticeable. But the longer it gets untreated, the chance of losing vision gets higher. If you are experiencing symptoms, have yourself checked. 

 

Effects of Diabetes on the Eye

effects of diabetesJust like dental checkups, regular eye checkup is also important, most especially if you have diabetes. Patients with diabetes should be monitored by specialists GPs. Symptoms of diabetic eye disease could include blurred vision, vision floaters, and impaired vision. Once you notice these symptoms, set an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.

High blood sugar can pose cataract symptoms as well. This is because apart from diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and other eye diseases might take place as well.

Aside from common diabetic symptoms, here are some of the expected effects of the disease on the eye:

Blurred Vision

Refrain from getting a new pair of glasses once you realize that you are exhibiting blurred vision. This could be a diabetic symptom that affects the eye. When this happens, the eye lens gets swollen, and this instance causes your ability to see clearly to change.

How do you resolve this? The only way to aid blurred vision due to diabetic reasons is by getting your blood sugar levels back to normal. This might take you three to four months, depending on how diligent you are in watching your sugar intake. In cases like this, it’s essential to let your doctor know about your condition so they can address your concerns appropriately.

Cataracts

A cataract is an eye disease that causes cloudy vision and sensitivity to light and glare. The internal lens of our eyes enables us to see clearly and focus on the desired object, more like how a camera works. When this eye ability gets affected, there is a high chance that a cataract is forming. Moreover, halos ,will start to interfere with your sight, Cataract symptoms include fading colors and vision difficulty at night.

Anyone can be at risk of cataracts. But people with diabetes often get them earlier than others. Additionally, the symptoms get worse quickly with diabetic people as well.

Your eye doctor will assess your situation. A cataract can be surgically removed along with the natural lens of the eye. A synthetic eye lens will then be placed as a replacement.

Glaucoma

Another eye disease to watch out for is glaucoma. Diabetic people have a higher chance of getting different types of glaucoma. This happens when the eye is pressured because the fluids that should be drained are stuck in the nerves. Because of this, the blood vessels and nerves get damaged and affect the vision.

Your doctor can treat Open-angle glaucoma with medication. The prescribed medicines can lower down the pressure in the eye and drain the fluids as well. However, you are lucky if glaucoma is diagnosed early on by your doctor, as this eye disease gets worse over time. Annual physical checkup helps in preventing it from worsening.

Symptoms of glaucoma include the following:

  • vision loss
  • headaches
  • watery eyes
  • eye pain
  • halos
  • blurred vision

Diabetic Retinopathy

A unique part of the eye is responsible for completing the image we see and sending it to the brain, and this is the retina. When the small vessels in the retina get damaged, the common cause would be diabetic retinopathy. This is an eye disease that needs to be treated immediately as it could lead to vision loss. The higher the sugar levels are, the higher chance you get to be at risk of diabetic retinopathy. So one of the best ways to prevent it is by watching your sugar levels and making sure they don’t go high.

Oftentimes, people with type 2 diabetes tend to show symptoms of eye disease upon diagnosis. However, you can control your blood sugar with the help of an insulin pump or insulin injections.

Furthermore, you can also prevent the rapid progress of your diabetes by eating healthy, exercising, and lowering your cholesterol intake.

Symptoms:

  • blurred vision
  • dark vision
  • empty vision
  • impaired color
  • deteriorating vision

In most cases, diabetic retinopathy can affect both eyes.

Additionally, diabetic retinopathy has two types. Let’s discuss their differences below.

Early diabetic retinopathy

This is the most common type of diabetic retinopathy. In medical terms, this is called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. In cases like this, the retinas’ blood vessel walls get weak. As a result, the small vessels tend to leak fluid in the retina. Meanwhile, the large retina dilates, and its size gets affected. This could get worse as long as the condition is not treated.

Advanced diabetic retinopathy

If diabetic retinopathy is not diagnosed and treated as early, advanced diabetic retinopathy might follow. When this occurs, the blood vessels close down, promoting the development of new blood vessels in the retina, causing a gel-like leak into the eyes.

 

Risk Factors to Consider

While anyone can be at risk of eye diseases, certain factors put an individual at risk of this condition, such as follows:

  • native Americans, Africans, and Hispanic ethnicity
  • pregnancy
  • tobacco use
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • people with underlying eye condition (nearsightedness or farsightedness)
  • age

 

Prevention

eye doctor and patientTo prevent diabetic eye diseases, it’s essential to take precautionary measures once you find out that you have diabetes. Lowering your sugar levels and cholesterol levels should be your top priority, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Additionally, here are some of the ways to care for your eyes:

  • let them rest
  • wear eye protection
  • avoid smoking
  • get annual checkups
  • be cautious with changes in your vision

 

 

 

 

References:

Can Diabetes Affect Your Eyes? (https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-eye-problems) February 03, 2021

Diabetic retinopathy (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-retinopathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20371611) May 30, 2018

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