The damage done to your body due to diabetes is widespread. The longer you live with uncontrolled blood glucose levels, the more serious this damage could become. Your eyes are particularly at risk, since these high blood sugar levels can damage the delicate structure of the eye and its blood supply.
When you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll receive a recommendation to have an eye exam. In fact, eye exams sometimes detect diabetes, a condition that has few symptoms in its early stages. Once damage starts in your eye, there are several ways that diabetes can put your sight at risk.
For comprehensive care from diagnosis to condition management, contact IC Laser Eye Care. With three locations in the Philadelphia area (Philadelphia and Bensalem, Pennsylvania, and Hamilton, New Jersey), you have easy access to the finest up-to-date vision care available today to help you minimize the impact of diabetes on your eyes.
How diabetes can put your sight at risk
Sugars in your blood provide the fuel that your body burns to function. Insulin is a hormone that signals to the cells in your body when to accept blood sugar (also known as blood glucose) for activity.
When your body stops making insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when your cells start to resist insulin signals (type 2 diabetes), glucose levels in your blood can reach dangerous levels. These high levels of sugar can damage tissues, including blood vessels and nerves. When it comes to your eyes, there are four major ways your vision can be affected.
1. Blurry sight
If your corrective lens prescription seems to be out of date and you’ve recently had a diabetes diagnosis, the two may be connected. High blood glucose levels can cause your eyeballs to swell, changing the shape of your eye and interfering with the prescription you’ve been using. As you get blood sugar under control, this swelling stops, but it may take a few months before your eyesight returns to normal.
2. Diabetic retinopathy
The retina is the image-forming, light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye. High blood sugar causes blockages in the small blood vessels that supply the retina. In response, new blood vessels form, and problems begin with these. Immature blood vessels can leak and create scar tissue. This tissue forces the retina away from the rear wall of the eye, a condition known as a detached retina.
There are several forms of glaucoma, conditions usually marked by a buildup of fluid pressure within the eye. Open-angle glaucoma is most common, and it’s usually slow to develop. Fluids build up in the eye faster than the usual paths can drain, whether due to blockage or overproduction. Glaucoma can lead to optic nerve damage.
The lenses in each eye are normally clear. When proteins break down and cause the lens to become cloudy, you have cataracts. While anyone can develop cataracts, having diabetes increases the risk. You may develop cataracts sooner, and they could get worse more quickly.
Book a consultation with IC Laser Eye Care soon after your diagnosis to stay on top of the effects of diabetes on your vision. Contact the nearest office by phone or online to schedule an appointment.