In honor of diabetic eye disease awareness month, let’s take a look into how diabetes may impact your vision. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30.3 million Americans had diabetes in 2015 and this continues to increase. Diabetes can cause eye damage that can lead to poor vision or even blindness. Luckily, there are proactive steps you can take as a diabetic to keep your eyes healthy and potentially prevent diabetic eye diseases.
Diabetes affects your eyes when blood glucose is too high. With diabetes, the body can’t use or store sugar properly. This can cause damages to retinal blood vessels in the eye, causing them to swell, bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision. The most common cause of vision loss for people with diabetes is from diabetic retinopathy.
The retina, which lines the back of the eye receives light and converts the light into signals. The retina then sends the signals to the brain where the brain can decode for visual recognition. Diabetic retinopathy damages the blood vessels in the retina and can cause vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes. According to the National Eye Institute, many times there are no early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. However, there are some later symptoms that may occur which include blurry vision, floating spots in your vision and even blindness.
Diabetic macular edema is another disease than can cause vision loss. The macula is the most active part of the eye, it is part of the retina that is used for driving, reading, and seeing in great detail. Diabetes can cause swelling in the macula which is called diabetic macular edema. This disease overtime can cause vision loss and potential blindness from destroying the macula.
Below are some of the best ways to keep your eyes healthy with diabetes:
- Manage your cholesterol and blood pressure
- Stop smoking
- Eat healthy
- Take your medication
- Control your glucose
- Schedule a dilated eye exam once a year with your regular optometrist
At Wolfe Eye Clinic we offer specialized retina services with fellowship-trained ophthalmologists. We’re here to help; to learn more, for questions, or to schedule an appointment with one of our Retina Specialists, call (800) 542-7956.