It is well known that uncontrolled diabetes harms the heart and kidneys. However, did you know that diabetes can also heavily impact your vision and even irreversibly damage your vision?
People who have blurry vision or other vision problems never consider diabetes as a possible cause and frequently dismiss them as temporary symptoms or ageing signs. However, conclusive research has demonstrated that diabetes can lead to various medical issues affecting the eyes.
What effects does diabetes have on vision?
Diabetes causes a lack of blood supply by affecting the small blood vessels throughout the body, including the eyes, leading to eye complications.
Having too much glucose in the bloodstream can result in varying degrees of vision impairment. Macular edoema and retinopathy are two of the most common types of long-term complications that are more common in people with diabetes. Diabetes also puts you at the risk of developing other serious eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma.
The good news is that improvements in medical techniques can save your sight testing, provided the issues are identified before significant retinal alterations take place. This is why it’s important for people with diabetes to have their vision tested at least once a year.
Precautions to be taken
The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop this disease. As a result, the day you are diagnosed with diabetes, you should have your eyes, particularly the retina, checked for diabetes effects. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, and taking your medication while managing your diabetes can also help you delay or prevent eyesight loss.
Warning signs of poor vision
In the early stages of eye problems related to diabetes, there may be no warning signs. As a result, even if you don’t have any vision problems, it’s critical to get regular eye exams. The symptoms that may indicate the onset of diabetic eye disease include:
· Frequently changing glasses
· Difficulty reading newspapers or anything with a small font
· Trouble seeing faraway objects.
· Hazy/ cloudy vision
· Seeing dark floaters or spots in black or red
· Trouble seeing at night
· Redness or pain in your eye
The best ways you can help prevent eye problems caused by diabetes include:
1. Regularly monitor your eye health. To prevent eye problems related to diabetes, attend comprehensive annual eye checks and seek help from your ophthalmologist if changes arise or complications occur. The earlier an eye issue is detected, there are much better chances of preventing irreversible vision loss and the later stages of the disease.
2. Control your blood sugar. In addition to getting your eyes checked, it’s also very important to manage your glucose levels in order to prevent deterioration and damage to the eye. Your healthcare provider can offer advice on how to keep your blood sugar levels normal and prevent fluctuations that can lead to diabetic eye diseases.
3. Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. It is critical to understand that having high blood pressure or high cholesterol along with diabetes increases the progression of vision-related problems. So, it is preferable to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels to lower the risk of diabetes-related eye problems. Ask your doctor for advice on how to manage your high blood pressure and cholesterol. Lest undiagnosed and untreated, these conditions can make diabetic eye disease worse.
4. Stop smoking. Smokers who also have diabetes are more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy. Smoking contributes to further damage to your eyes. So, it’s very important to stop smoking to lower your risk for diabetes-related eye diseases and improve your health in many other ways too.
5. Avoid harmful rays. For people with diabetes, it is important to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays by wearing sunglasses. This is because your eyes and your vision already face risks of diabetes-related eye complications. Exposure to these ultraviolet rays can speed up the progression of cataracts.
6. Get active. Engaging in regular physical activity not only improves glycemic control, but also protects your eyes from vision damage related to diabetes.
Diabetes is a silent killer that can seriously impact your visual health. The greatest method to reduce your risk of eye problems is to manage your diabetes. This entails maintaining healthy blood sugar levels to prevent complications. You can achieve this by engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a nutritious diet, carefully adhering to your physician’s recommendations for using insulin or other diabetic medications, and getting regular screenings for diabetic eye disease.
If you have diabetes, give your eyes extra attention and care, and keep your blood sugar under control to maintain healthy vision. Remember, vision loss from diabetes is preventable with timely interventions.