People with diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop eye disease compared with the general population. Fortunately, 90% of vision loss caused by diabetes can be prevented. If you have a friend or a family member that has been diagnosed with diabetes, then they likely need eye care to help protect their eyes from the many potential sight-threatening complications associated with diabetes. Let’s take a look at how you can create eye care habits that will benefit you now and, in the years, to come.
What Are Eye Diseases Related to Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot properly produce or use insulin to regulate blood sugar (glucose). An excessive amount of glucose in the blood can harm numerous organs over time. Diabetes can adversely affect the cardiovascular system, lungs, and kidneys. It can also weaken blood vessels, causing damage to the eyes. In fact, diabetic complications cause the majority of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74. Some of the diabetic eye diseases include:
Diabetes destroys the body’s small blood vessels, particularly those that flow to the retina. When blood leaks from small blood vessels, diabetic retinopathy occurs. As a result, the retinal tissue swells, and the vision becomes foggy or blurry. Primarily, the condition affects both eyes in most diabetics. The longer someone has diabetes, the greater their risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
In the absence of treatment, it can lead to blindness. But when you address the issue by stabilizing blood glucose levels, the lens normally returns to its natural shape, and eyesight improves. Moreover, improvement in blood glucose control can slow the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy among diabetics.
Diplopia, or double vision, often occurs without warning and can be quite distressing. For people with diabetes, impaired circulation could result in paralysis or palsy of the muscles that move the eyes. Two images are transmitted to the brain instead of one when an eye muscle or group of muscles isn’t working properly. Thus, the double vision. When this happens, you should consult your physician to rule out any other causes.
In addition to aging, diabetes is the most common risk factor for cataracts. It occurs when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy, resulting in blurred vision and poor color perception. The majority of cataracts can be treated surgically, which may restore your vision.
Complications of diabetes of the eye blood vessels go beyond the retina. Iris problems can also occur. Glaucoma occurs when abnormal blood vessel growth takes place in both the retina and iris, obstructing vision. Fluid blockage causes the eye pressure to rise, causing the optic nerve to damage and eventually leading to visual abnormalities and blindness. As a person with diabetes, you are more likely to develop glaucoma, which can manifest in many ways.
It is treatable in its most common form. Treatments will decrease eye pressure, facilitate drainage, and reduce the production of liquid. Medications, eye drops like prostaglandins, surgery, and laser treatments are some of the treatments available.
A high blood sugar level makes it harder for the body to fight illness. Injuries and sores that take a long time to heal are not the only problems. Conditions like pink eye, sty, and other eye infections are more challenging to treat in diabetic patients with weak immune systems.
Diabetes and Eye Care: The Best Tips to Maintain Healthy Vision
Good eye care habits are important, and the goal is to prevent any further cause for vision problems by keeping your eyes healthy. These simple steps can help you gain control over your diabetes and ensure healthy eyes for a lifetime.
Schedule Regular Eye Exams
A comprehensive eye exam is crucial to ensuring complete eye health. The first step is to schedule regular eye exams, including a cataract test, glaucoma test, and a dilated eye exam. Doctors recommend that diabetics and those at risk for diabetic eye disease have their eyes examined at least once a year or more frequently if they suffer from other diabetes complications.
Monitor and Control Blood Sugar Levels
You’re more likely to develop eye problems if you have high blood sugar levels. So, you must maintain control of your blood glucose levels regularly by taking measures to prevent it from getting too high or too low. Have your A1C checked every six months.
Furthermore, elevated blood sugar levels can result in hazy vision that is not directly connected to diabetic retinopathy. The reason for this is an excessive amount of sugar and water in the lens of the eye, which sits just in front of the retina.
Keep Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels Healthy
A high level of cholesterol may also cause diabetic retinopathy. If you have high LDL (bad cholesterol) or triglyceride levels, your provider may prescribe medicine to help lower them. Make sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Seek Treatment for Vision Problems Immediately
Consult your eye doctor immediately if you are having eye problem symptoms. An early diagnosis of symptoms makes treatment more effective. Your eye doctor will recommend safe eye drops for diabetics, laser treatments, and surgery to treat eye problems. Schedule a consultation if you are experiencing the following:
- cloudy, spotty, or hazy vision
- eye pain
- floaters in the eyes
- you have blind spots
- double vision
Eat Healthy Foods
Consuming a nutritious diet rich in vitamin A, carotenoids, and certain dark green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, can help reduce your risk of developing certain eye problems. Limit foods high in sugar, sodium, and fat. By eating a healthy, balanced diet, you can increase your chances of staying healthy and maintaining good eyes.
Have Regular Exercise
By exercising regularly, you can improve your fitness level, maintain a healthy level of blood sugar, and reduce the risk of heart disease and nerve damage. Monitor your blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise to avoid hypoglycemia that can lead to insulin shock.
If you already suffer from eye problems, speak with your provider about avoiding exercises causing stress to your eye’s blood vessels. Exercises such as weight lifting and high-impact exercises may worsen your symptoms.
Shield Your Eyes from the Sun
You should protect your eyes from the sun just as you protect your skin from the sun. There is a link between UVA and cataracts, so make sure you shield your eyes from the sun by wearing UVA and UVB sunglasses.
As a smoker, you are at a higher risk of developing diabetes-related problems, including diabetic retinopathy. That’s why it’s essential to stop smoking. Your doctor can help you if you are having difficulty quitting smoking or using other types of tobacco.
Keep Your Vision Healthy!
With proper eye care, people with diabetes can enjoy better long-term health and vision. By developing healthy habits early on, you can reduce your risk for significant problems like glaucoma, cataracts, and other things that could render you blind.
Consult your physician if you think you are at risk for diabetes. Our tips in this article will help you enjoy improved eye health and lower the risk of diabetes-related eye diseases. For diabetes management and reversal, consult with our team here at PHWC! To get started, schedule an appointment online or call us at 441-292-5111 .! To get started, schedule an appointment online or call us at 441-292-5111 .