Do You Have Diabetes? Learn How It Affects Your Eye Health

If you have diabetes, you know how important it is to keep your blood sugar under control. High blood sugar does a lot of damage to your body, including your eyes. In fact, your eyes are so susceptible to the effects of high blood glucose, your optometrist may notice the damage to your eyes before your doctor even diagnoses you with diabetes. That's one reason regular eye examinations are so important for adults. Your eye doctor can catch damage to your vision before symptoms develop. Here's what you need to know about how diabetes affects your vision.

Blood Vessel Damage In Retina

Diabetic retinopathy is a medical condition where increased blood sugar causes damage to the blood vessels in your retina. In addition to causing existing vessels to become blocked or weak, the condition also causes the growth of new vessels. Because these vessels are weak, they rupture easily. When blood leaks into your eye, it can cause blurry vision and blind spots. If diabetic retinopathy is not treated, it can cause you to lose your vision because blood flow to your retina is impaired.

Treatment In Early Stages

By getting treatment early in the course of diabetic retinopathy, you might be able to halt or slow the advancement of your vision loss. The primary way to control the condition is to keep your blood sugar within normal limits. You should also take steps to support the health of your blood vessels by controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol. You should also see your optometrist regularly during this time, so your eyes can be monitored for changes. If the disease progresses, you may need to undergo laser treatments.

Laser Treatments For Late Stage Eye Disease

Laser treatments are usually reserved for the later stages of diabetic retinopathy. The treatment is done to block or scar the abnormal vessels in your retina, so they no longer leak fluid into your eye. The laser treatments can leave you with blurry vision for a few days and is typically performed at an optometry clinic. They may even cause a partial loss of vision, but they help prevent you from going blind. Another type of surgery known as vitrectomy may be done as well. In this procedure, the eye doctor removes pooled blood, scar tissue and clots from your field of vision, so your eyesight improves.

Laser surgery helps save your vision, but it does not cure your diabetic eye disease. As long as you have diabetes, your eyes are at risk. Therefore, you should work with your optometrist and your diabetes doctor to make sure your blood sugar is well controlled, so you can avoid blood vessel damage in your body and eyes.