5 Ways Diabetes Can Damage Your Eyes & Vision
Diabetes increases your risk of serious health complications; you should plan to make regular eye doctor visits when you have diabetes to properly manage your blood sugar. High blood sugar can lead to problems like blurry vision, cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy.
Here’s a look at what types of eye complications can occur if you neglect your health.
- Blurry Vision
Blurry vision means it’s harder to make out fine details in what you’re seeing. Several causes can stem from diabetes, as it may be a sign your glucose level is not in the right range — either too high or too low.
The reason your sight blurs may be fluid leaking into the lens of your eye. This makes the lens swell and change shape. Those changes make it hard for your eyes to focus, so things start to look fuzzy.
You may also get blurred vision when you start insulin treatment. This is due to shifting fluids, but it generally resolves after a few weeks. For many people, as blood sugar levels stabilize, so does their vision.
The natural internal lens of your eye allows your eye to see and focus on an image, just like a camera. When that lens gets cloudy, like a dirty or smudged window, that means a cataract has formed. Anyone can get them, but people with diabetes tend to get them earlier, and they get worse faster.
Other symptoms include:
- Faded colours
- Clouded or blurry vision
- Double vision, usually in just one eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Glare or halos around lights
- The vision that doesn’t improve with new glasses or a prescription that must be changed often
Glaucoma occurs when the fluid pressure in your eyes are higher than normal. This increased pressure can damage your optic nerve, resulting in vision loss. The longer someone has diabetes, the higher their risks are of developing Glaucoma.
- Diabetic Retinopathy
A retina is a group of cells behind your eyes that are responsible for converting light into signals and sending it through the optic nerve to the brain. Diabetic Retinopathy is a condition in which high blood pressure causes your retinal blood vessels to leak fluid or bleed (haemorrhage), resulting in scarring and cell loss in your retina.
Hyperglycemia results from glucose building up in the blood when the body lacks enough insulin to process it.
Besides blurred vision, other symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- increased thirst and urination
Managing your glucose levels to avoid hyperglycemia is important because, over time, poor blood sugar control can lead to more problems with sight and potentially increase the risk of irreversible blindness.
Blurred vision can be a minor problem with a quick fix, such as eye drops or a new prescription for your eyeglasses.
However, it can also indicate a serious eye disease or an underlying condition other than diabetes. That’s why you should report blurry vision and other vision changes to your doctor.
In many cases, early treatment can correct the problem or prevent it from getting worse.