How does diabetes affect your eyes?

Diabetes affects one's overall health in a variety of ways. Left untreated, diabetes can damage your nerves, blood vessels, and organs, causing heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and vision loss.

Diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma are four of the most common results of untreated diabetes. Without treatment, it can result in vision loss and, in extreme cases, blindness.

High blood glucose or blood sugar causes swelling or a change in fluid levels in eye tissues, causing temporary blurred vision. When glucose levels are back in a normal range, clear vision returns. However, if your blood glucose stays high for more extended periods of time, it can damage the small blood vessels in the back of your eye. This frequently occurs when your blood glucose is above the normal range -during prediabetes or before you have been diagnosed.

The damaged blood vessels leak fluid which causes swelling. In addition, as new blood vessels begin to grow, they are often weak and can bleed into the middle part of the eye, which causes scarring and high pressure inside the eye. Blood vessel deficiencies in the eye are the root of four eye diseases that can result in loss of vision.

People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma or cataracts. The best way to prevent diabetic eye disease from worsening is to manage your diabetes by monitoring your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol, quitting smoking and having a dilated eye exam once a year.

Symptoms to watch for include floaters, blurriness, dark areas of vision, and difficulty perceiving colors. If you experience any of these symptoms, see a specialist immediately. You may contact us online at New Vision Eye Center or call 772.257.8700 for more information or to schedule a consultation with our World-Class Eye Care team.