Diabetes is very common and uncontrolled blood sugar can have devastating effects on your vision! In fact, diabetics are twenty times more likely to go blind than the general population.
How are the eyes affected?
Basically, diabetes is a disease of blood vessels. When you have large amounts of sugar floating through your blood stream, a reaction occurs along your blood vessel walls that makes them leaky. Leaky blood vessels create problems throughout your body. If your blood vessels leak in your feet, you can have healing problems. If vessels leak in your kidneys, you can leak electrolytes out of your urine. Likewise, if blood vessels leak inside your eye, your vision can be affected!
At the back of the eyeball lies the retina. The retina detects light and works like film in a camera. Just like film, the retina needs to be perfectly flat and smooth if you’re going to “take a good picture.” If blood vessels leak, the normally smooth retina can become “lumpy and bumpy,” affecting your vision. In advanced cases, the retina can scar, the eye can fill with leaking blood, and the retina can eventually detach, leading to permanant vision loss.
What can you do?
Controlling your glucose level is extremely important. Studies have shown that patients who maintain lower hemoglobin A1C levels have delayed onset and slower progression of eye disease. It is also imperative to have your eyes dilated and checked by a doctor on a regular basis. If diabetic damage is detected early enough, steps can be taken to minimize your eye damage. For example, if leaking blood vessels are detected, they can often be ablated with a laser in clinic and stave off further damage. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you should really schedule an appointment to see an eye doctor before you have a problem.