If you’re diabetic, you have a lot of different health concerns to think about. But here’s something you probably aren’t thinking about much: your vision. Diabetes can actually have serious effects on your ability to see and can lead to certain vision conditions. Search online to learn about the ways diabetes might alter or affect your eyesight.
1. Blurry Vision
Blurry vision might seem like just a temporary problem – and sometimes it is. But if you’re living with diabetes, it’s important to pay close attention to any blurry vision you might experience.
If your blood sugar levels rise, it can cause blurry vision. The lenses of your eyes can swell, which results in blurred eyesight. If you’re able to get your blood sugar back to a healthy level, your vision should return to normal. However, keep in mind that it can take up to three months to see blurry vision disappear.
Another reason blurry vision might occur is fluid leaking into your eye. Individuals who are just starting insulin treatment may experience blurry vision due to shifting fluids. This generally resolves on its own as your blood sugar levels stabilize.
Anyone can develop cataracts – they commonly happen as the result of aging. However, individuals with diabetes tend to develop cataracts earlier than others. Those with diabetes also tend to see cataracts progress, or worsen, faster.
When cataracts form, your eye’s lens can become cloudy, like it’s dirty or smudged. You might have trouble focusing your eyes, and you’ll likely experience blurry vision and glare.
Cataracts require surgery. Your doctor can remove cataracts by replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial new one.
Glaucoma is a vision condition that’s more common in people with diabetes. When glaucoma occurs, pressure builds up inside the eye as the result of fluid that isn’t draining properly. Because of that pressure, nerves and blood vessels in and around the eye can become damaged. And that can alter your ability to see.
Glaucoma doesn’t always cause symptoms; many people don’t experience any changes until glaucoma has progressed and major vision loss happens. When symptoms do occur, they typically include:
- Loss of peripheral vision.
- Tunnel vision.
- Halos around lights in your line of sight.
- Redness in the eyes.
- Eye pain.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Fortunately, glaucoma can commonly be treated with medication that lowers eye pressure, aids drainage, and reduces liquid produced by the eyes. Eye drops, surgery, and laser treatments are also available treatment options.
4. Damaged Blood Vessels
Diabetes can also lead to damaged blood vessels in the eyes. It’s common in diabetics who have just been diagnosed or those who are still working to get blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control.
When small blood vessels in the eye – in the retina, specifically – you can develop diabetic retinopathy. This condition is related to high levels of blood sugar, and if left untreated, it can cause blindness.
Diabetics who develop diabetic retinopathy might get any of the following types of the condition:
- Background retinopathy, in which blood vessels become damaged, but vision is still fine.
- Maculopathy, which affects the macula within the retina.
- Proliferative retinopathy, in which cells don’t get enough oxygen.
If you develop any type of retinopathy as the result of diabetes, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as you notice any vision changes. Diabetic retinopathy can be treated, but it can lead to serious vision problems (including vision loss) if left untreated.
Stay on Top of Your Vision Health
If you’re worried about developing a serious eye condition that’s connected to diabetes, make sure to talk with your doctor. You can discuss your risk as well as any strategies you’re using to keep your blood sugar under control. If you’re able to keep your glucose levels stable and manage your diabetes well, you may be able to avoid common eye conditions like those mentioned here.
You can also search online to learn more about the connection between diabetes and vision. There are a number of ways your vision might be affected by diabetes, and you may find that diabetes puts you at a higher risk for certain eye problems. It’s important to know what could lie in your future so you know how to take care of your overall health.