Eyesight and Diabetes

  • BY Lainie Petersen

Diabetes is known as a condition that affects your blood sugar levels, potentially affecting many body systems, including your eyes. If you have diabetes, or are at risk of developing the condition, it’s important to monitor your vision for any changes, as diabetes can lead to several eye conditions that may result in both pain and vision loss.
Here are some eye conditions that are associated with diabetes:
Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eye, causing leaking or blockages. This can damage to the retina, leading to vision loss. Once discovered, there are several treatment options, although good management of your diabetes can make a significant difference in the severity of the condition. Laser surgery can treat the blood vessels in your eye and other surgical options exist for more advanced retinopathy.
A cataract is a clouding of your eye’s lens and can occur in people who don’t have diabetes, though it may develop earlier in diabetics. Surgical treatment can clear up the lens or replace it with a human-made, plastic version.
Glaucoma is a serious medical condition that cause the build-up of fluid in your eyes. When this happens, you may experience intense pain and may be at risk of losing your eyesight. Some types of glaucoma are relatively symptom-free until they’ve progressed to a point where you may lose vision, making early detection very important. Glaucoma can be treated through medication and surgery: Many eye doctors routinely screen for it as part of eye exams, but you should ask just to make sure that your doctor is checking you for the condition.
Blurred Eyesight
Changes in blood sugar levels can cause blurred vision. This typically goes away once you’ve got your blood sugar under control, though it may take a few months for your eyesight to get back to normal. If you do notice that you’re having trouble seeing things, be sure to get your eyes checked. While the problem may be something as simple as astigmatism or presbyopia, blurred vision has more serious causes, including diabetes, so it’s important to get a medical evaluation.
There does appear to be a connection between good management of diabetes and the severity of the many conditions that often accompany it. While eating right and monitoring your blood sugar won’t absolutely prevent eye problems or other medical issues, they can help delay the onset of complications and minimize the severity of co-morbid conditions.  If you have diabetes, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about any vision problems that you may be experiencing. It is also a good idea to get regular eye exams, which can identify eye problems in their earliest stages so that they can be treated effectively. Your eye doctor can put you on an exam schedule that meets your needs.