Diabetes can significantly affect many body systems, and your eyes are no exception. Spikes and drops in blood sugar, or poorly controlled blood sugar over a span of years can damage your eyes and impair vision—sometimes permanently. Hill Vision Services is dedicated to helping to diagnose and manage diabetes-related vision problems.
Severe Blood Sugar Changes
If you are diabetic and are experiencing blurred vision, floaters, or distorted vision, your eyes may be telling you that your blood sugar is out of control. These symptoms often happen when diabetes is undiagnosed, untreated (as when patients suddenly stop their diabetic medications), or poorly controlled (with inadequate doses of medication).
These shifts in vision may be reversible if a diagnosis is made and proper treatment for controlling blood sugar is begun. Patients who are having blurred vision should see an ophthalmologist for an eye examination to determine the cause. A referral back to the patient’s primary care provider may be required in cases of severely elevated or fluctuating blood sugar.
The retina is a fragile lining of the back of the eye made up of layers of cells called photoreceptors. In patients with diabetes, damage to the small blood vessels of the retina can accumulate over time, and the photoreceptors can be permanently damaged. This damage is sometimes visible during a dilated eye exam and is known as “diabetic retinopathy.” If you are diabetic and are experiencing blurred vision or distorted vision, your eyes may be damaged by diabetic retinopathy.
If caught early, medication combined with better blood sugar monitoring and management can prevent further damage and sometimes restore vision. Left untreated however, diabetic retinopathy can cause vision loss or blindness. In fact, it’s the leading cause of blindness among adults who are diabetic.
Diabetic Macular Edema
The retina is a specialized layer lining the back of the eye. Within the retina is the macula, a hyper-sensitive section of the eye responsible for sending signals to the brain about what is straight ahead of us in our line of vision.
Diabetic macular edema (DME) can develop as a result of diabetic retinopathy and occurs when the macula swells with fluid. The fluid blocks the macula’s many photoreceptors from capturing the light and images that enter the retina, impairing your vision. The photoreceptors of the retina can also be permanently damaged if macular edema persists over several months
Medications known as anti-VEGF medicines can be injected into the eye to treat DME, but it can reoccur if blood sugar levels are not stabilized.
Cataracts are a normal part of the aging process, but people with diabetes tend to get cataracts at an earlier age, and they often progress more quickly than in people who are not diabetic.
If you have diabetes and have developed cataracts, they can be treated with the same surgical lens replacement options as for those who are not diabetic. However, in order to avoid complications, your diabetes should be under control with diet, exercise, medication, and regular monitoring.
Glaucoma is a serious disease that causes damages the optic nerve. Left untreated, glaucoma eventually leads to blindness. If you have diabetes, you are potentially more likely to develop glaucoma than people who do not have diabetes.
Among the first signs of glaucoma is loss of peripheral vision. Left untreated, eventually all vision is lost.
Though there is no way to restore vision that has been lost to glaucoma, its progression can be slowed or halted through a variety of glaucoma treatments that we offer at Hill Vision Services. Early detection and treatment is key.
Prevention of Diabetes-Related Eye Disease
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, visit Hill Vision Services to have a complete dilated eye exam, including a retinal exam. It is important to return every year for an exam, or more frequently if you are experiencing any type of diabetes-related eye problems.
Hill Vision Services can identify diabetes-related eye conditions, as well as detect any other issues that may threaten your vision. Often there are no detectable symptoms that you would notice at the onset of diabetes-related eye disease. A complete eye exam done by a trained, skilled ophthalmologist can lead to early diagnosis and treatment, which can make a significant difference in how you see the world for the rest of your life.
Call Hill Vision Services
If you have diabetes and would like to schedule an eye exam, contact Hill Vision Services. We are experienced in diagnosing and treating diabetes-related eye disease, and we can help.