Diabetes can cause some serious eye problems, including potential vision loss or complete blindness. Optometrist Archima Major, OD, and the eye care team at Eye Innovations in Philadelphia and Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, screens for early signs of diabetes during all comprehensive eye exams, and they can also diagnose eye diseases related to diabetes, such as diabetic retinopathy. Call the office to request your appointment today.
Diabetes can damage your eyes when your blood sugar is too high. Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to blurry vision, but once you get your blood sugar back to normal levels, the blurriness usually stops.
If you have consistently high blood sugar for an extended period of time, it may damage the blood vessels in your eyes. You could also develop abnormal new blood vessels, and these weak blood vessels often break open and leak blood into your middle eye. This can trigger high intraocular pressure and inner-eye scarring.
Diabetes also dramatically increases your risk of developing certain eye diseases.
Eye conditions caused by uncontrolled diabetes are called diabetic eye diseases. They include:
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease. This disease develops when consistently high blood sugar progressively harms your retina, the light-sensing layer of cells in the back part of your eye. Diabetic retinopathy can cause blind spots, floaters, poor night vision, and even blindness in its most severe form, also known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic macular edema happens when the macula, the portion of the retina that focuses your central vision, grows swollen. In time, diabetic macular edema can blur your vision and may cause partial vision loss or blindness. It's most common in people with diabetes who have diabetic retinopathy.
Because diabetes can cause changes in your eye that raise your intraocular pressure and damage your optic nerve, some cases of this condition are considered diabetic eye disease. If untreated, glaucoma can cause partial vision loss or blindness.
Cataracts happen when you develop protein deposits on your eye lenses. These deposits may accumulate at a faster rate in diabetics, which is why cataracts are sometimes considered a diabetic eye disease.
If you suspect that you have any of the diabetic eye problems above, see the Eye Innovations team for diagnosis as soon as possible.
Diabetic eye disease treatment is highly individual. Addressing the underlying problem — in this case, uncontrolled blood sugar — is absolutely critical. You should work with your primary care physician or endocrinologist to ensure you are making the proper nutritional choices and taking supplemental insulin if required to lower your blood sugar to healthy levels.
Eye Innovations can help with diabetic eye disease monitoring, and, in some cases, treatment. If Eye Innovations can’t treat your diabetic eye disease, they’ll refer you to a specialist and coordinate and co-manage your care.
Book your appointment for diabetic eye care at Eye Innovations by calling the office nearest you or requesting an appointment online.