What Aids Are Available To Help With Loss Of Vision
If you have problems seeing despite wearing glasses, you may find low-vision aids helpful. These are special devices that are stronger than regular eyeglasses. Some people with only partial sight are able to increase their vision significantly by using these devices.
Low vision aids include:
- Lenses that filter light.
- Magnifying glasses.
- Electronic devices that you can either hold in your hand or put directly on your reading material. E-Books, iPads® and similar electronic devices often can be adjusted to provide large dark fonts and are helpful for many patients with moderate impairments.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Whether or not you have an age-related sight condition, there are simple things you can do to improve your vision and maintain good eye health. See your eye doctor regularly for comprehensive eye exams and take special precautions if you have diabetes or a family history of eye disease.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/23/2020.
- Whiteside M. Managing Vision Impairment in Older Adults. In: Williams BA, Chang A, Ahalt C, Chen H, Conant R, Landefeld C, Ritchie C, Yukawa M. eds. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Geriatrics, Second Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill 2014.
- National Institute on Aging. Aging and Your Eyes. Accessed 11/27/2020.
- National Eye Institute. Vision and Aging Resources. Accessed 11/27/2020.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology. Are My Eyes Changing Because I’m Just Getting Older? Accessed 11/27/2020.
Diagnosing The Cause Of Blurry Vision
Can Stress Cause Blurred Vision
Stress impacts us mentally and physically, but did you know it can affect our vision? When we are severely stressed and anxious, high levels of adrenaline in the body can cause pressure on the eyes, resulting in blurred vision. People with long-term anxiety can suffer from eye strain during the day on a regular basis.
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Causes & Risk Factors
Diabetic retinopathy results from the damage diabetes causes to the small blood vessels located in the retina. These damaged blood vessels can cause vision loss:
- Fluid can leak into the macula, the area of the retina responsible for clear central vision. Although small, the macula is the part of the retina that allows us to see colors and fine detail. The fluid causes the macula to swell, resulting in blurred vision.
- In an attempt to improve blood circulation in the retina, new blood vessels may form on its surface. These fragile, abnormal blood vessels can leak blood into the back of the eye and block vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is classified into two types.
What Should I Do If I Experience Blurred Vision
If you experience blurred vision and you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, you should see your doctor and discuss your symptoms. Your doctor will evaluate you and identify the cause of the symptom. As part of this evaluation, your doctor will measure your blood glucose to determine if it is high and whether you may have diabetes.
If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, blurred vision is a sign that your blood glucose is out of control. You should work with your doctor on steps to help control your blood glucose.1,3
Do not get new glasses or contacts while you are working to get your blood glucose levels under control. Wait until after your levels are under control and the swelling in your eyes is gone so that your prescription is correct for your normal vision.1,3
No matter how often you experience blurred vision, you should always see your doctor since it could be a sign of another more serious eye problem.1,2
When high levels of blood sugar are left untreated for a long period of time, it can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage to 1 or both eyes. Long-term complications of diabetes that affect vision include:3
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What Is Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye problems that can affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Over time, diabetes can cause damage to your eyes that can lead to poor vision or even blindness. But you can take steps to prevent diabetic eye disease, or keep it from getting worse, by taking care of your diabetes.
The best ways to manage your diabetes and keep your eyes healthy are to
- manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol, sometimes called the diabetes ABCs
- If you smoke, get help to quit smoking
- have a dilated eye exam once a year
Often, there are no warning signs of diabetic eye disease or vision loss when damage first develops. A full, dilated eye exam helps your doctor find and treat eye problems earlyoften before much vision loss can occur.
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Treatments For Diabetic Retinopathy
Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is only necessary if screening detects significant problems that mean your vision is at risk.
If the condition hasn’t reached this stage, the above advice on managing your diabetes is recommended.
The main treatments for more advanced diabetic retinopathy are:
- laser treatment
- injections of medication into your eyes
- an operation to remove blood or scar tissue from your eyes
Which Specialties Of Doctors Treat Diabetic Eye Disease
Ophthalmology is the specialty of medicine that deals with diagnosis and treatment of eye disease. The ophthalmologist is the appropriate person to both diagnose and treat diabetic eye disease.
Some ophthalmologists limit their practice to diseases of the retina. A general ophthalmologist can decide whether or not the specific patient requires and evaluation by a subspecialist in retinal disease.
People with diabetes also will be cared for by their family doctor or internal medicine specialist and other subspecialists as needed.
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How Can I Protect My Vision If I Have Diabetes
Keeping your blood sugar levels under control and getting regular eye exams are the best things you can do to protect your vision.
Whether you have been living with type 2 diabetes for years or if you were recently diagnosed, your care team should include an ophthalmologist who has experience providing eye care for people with diabetes. Your primary care doctor may be able to screen you in their office. If your results are abnormal, they can refer you to an ophthalmologist.1
It is important to have your eyes checked at least once a year, even if your vision has not changed. If you have diabetes, the key to protecting your eyes is catching complications early. When caught early, treatment for even some of the more serious vision complications of diabetes can be very effective.1
Have you experienced blurred vision?
Does Blurry Vision From Diabetes Go Away
Experiencing blurry vision as a result of diabetes can feel unsettling. Naturally, one of the first things you might ask yourself is how long its going to last.
When the visual disturbance is caused by hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia alone, your blurry vision should go away with time and regulation of your blood sugar. It can take several weeks for your blood sugar level and with it, your vision to return to normal. But the effect may only be temporary.
Blurred vision can come and go any time your blood sugar level fluctuates. If you have diabetes and experience blurry vision , speak with your doctor.
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How To Fix Blurry Vision
Most people will experience blurred vision at some point during their lifetime. In many cases, it will be temporary and will resolve itself without the need for any significant treatment. However, some people will need assistance to restore the clarity of their sight. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available that can help, but exactly how to fix blurry vision will depend on the cause. Contrary to what some people believe, blurred vision doesnt always mean that you need glasses. There may be a simpler reason as to why your eyesight is compromised which may be able to be rectified with a straightforward solution.
Here are some of the most common causes of blurry vision and what can be done to fix it.
Fluctuating Blood Sugar Levels
Blood sugar levels that fluctuate throughout the day or from time to time, can cause occasional blurry vision.
It is highly recommended to speak with your doctor about ways to regulate your blood sugar levels, as a constant fluctuation can cause many uncomfortable symptoms and can be harmful to your body.
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Diabetes And Your Eyes
Eye disease caused by diabetes is a leading cause of blindness and vision loss. Because of the high risk for eye disease, all people with diabetes should receive an annual dilated eye exam. There are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic eye disease. Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina caused by complications from diabetes. The retina is highly penetrated with small blood vessels and capillaries. With prolonged elevation of blood sugar, the vascular lining of the retinas blood vessels becomes damaged, rendering them leaky. If swelling accumulates in the central retina or macula, blurred vision occurs. This blurred vision cannot be fixed with glasses. With further damage to the retinal blood vessels, the retina will become oxygen depleted. This results in the growth of abnormal new blood vessels, a condition known as neovascularization. Neovascular blood vessels are friable and bleed excessively, blocking vision. They can also cause further vision loss from retinal detachments and glaucoma. The good news is that diabetic eye disease can be treated, and your vision can be saved if you catch it early through a dilated eye exam. Dont wait for symptoms. It doesnt hurt its easy and it could save your sight.
Esight Users With Diabetic Vision Loss
eSight is used daily by thousands of people with over 20 serious eye conditions. This technology can improve almost any level of visual acuity, from 20/60 to 20/800, and in some cases up to 20/1400. Here are stories of some of the people who have changed their lives thanks to eSight.Long-time eSight user Jason Smetters lives with Cataracts, and he has been able to use his eSight to enjoy watching live stadium baseball games again. He no longer requires someone else to read the board to him, as he can now identify the score and the players on his own. Jason especially loves watching games at night, due to eSights sharpened contrast between the glistening green field and the dark blue sky.
eSight electronic eyewear enhances vision for people living with central vision loss, impaired colour vision, blind spots and more.
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Can Diabetes Cause Blindness
Blindness is strictly defined as the state of being totally sightless in both eyes. A completely blind individual is unable to see at all. The word blindness, however, is commonly used as a relative term to signify visual impairment, or low vision, meaning that even with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery, a person does not see well.
Diabetic eye disease can cause permanent visual loss, which may be mild or severe. Given modern treatment options, it is unusual today for diabetic eye disease to cause the total inability to see. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, if untreated can result in significant loss of vision.
What are the symptoms of blindness?
Blindness from diabetic eye disease is similar to blindness from other causes. All people who are blind or have visual impairment have the common symptom of difficulty seeing. People with similar levels of visual loss may have very different responses to that symptom.
If one is born blind, there is much less adjustment to a non-seeing world than there is for people who lose their vision late in life, where there may be limited ability to cope with that visual loss.
Support systems available to individuals and their psychological makeup will also modify the symptom of lack of sight. People who lose their vision suddenly, rather than over a period of years, also can have more difficulty adjusting to their visual loss.
How Does Aging Affect Your Eyes
Age sometimes brings changes that weaken your vision and eyes, but you can do certain things to maintain lifelong eye and overall health. The solution may be as simple as using brighter lights around the house to help prevent accidents caused by weak eyesight or seeing your doctor more frequently to screen for age-related diseases.
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When To Call Your Eye Doctor
As you can see, there are many ways that diabetes can harm your vision. If you have diabetes and blurry vision, then please make an appointment with your eye doctor. The earlier the treatment and diagnosis, the better your vision and overall health can be protected.
If you have prediabetes or diabetes and experience new or increased blurry vision, contact both your primary care physician and your eye doctor. Diabetes can affect your entire body.
We hope this answered your questions about diabetes and blurry vision. Often people find the connection in diabetes and blurry vision surprising until they understand why.
As with any visual health issue, early diagnosis usually results in the best chance for preventive or corrective treatment. An annual comprehensive vision examination is essential. Charlotte-area residents trust their eye care needs to Piedmont Eye Care. Contact us today to make an appointment.
Eye Changes When You Come Down With Diabetes
Changes in vision may happen at the time that diabetes is first diagnosed or at any time that blood sugar control is poor. Fluctuating blood sugars cause the lens to swell and shrink, and result in fluctuating vision. Many times, people who have borderline diabetes finally decide to take their diabetes seriously when their vision becomes blurred.
Sometimes, people coming down with diabetes marvel that they no longer need their glasses to see in the distance. But as insulin or other therapy is begun and the blood sugar drops, the abnormal swelling diminishes. In the short-term vision becomes blurred and is not corrected by their prescription lenses. Either of these scenarios can be frightening to people who have heard of the severe eye damage that goes along with diabetes.
Blurred vision in both eyes when insulin or other treatment begins is almost never caused by damage to the eye. Rather, it results from the speed at which the swelling, due to high blood sugars in the previous weeks and months, dissipates from the lens. Vision is usually out of sync for 3 to 4 weeks, sometimes with an accompanying headache.
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What Medications Treat Diabetic Eye Disease
The most important method of preventing eye disease related to diabetes is to maintain strict control of blood sugar. High blood pressure and high lipid or cholesterol levels must also be treated to decrease damage to the blood vessels within the eye.
Diabetic retinopathy and blindness
- The most common problem with the most potential to cause blindness is diabetic retinopathy.
- Currently, effective oral medications or eye drops do not exist to directly treat diabetic retinopathy, and surgery is the treatment of choice.
- Investigational drugs by injection around the eye or taken orally are currently being studied to determine their effectiveness in preventing and treating diabetic retinopathy.
Depending on the type of glaucoma, treatment may include medications and/or surgery. Intraocular pressure usually can be lowered using different medications in the form of eye drops. Some oral medications may also be prescribed, but their use is rare.
Various types of eye drops are commonly used, and more than one type of eye drop is often needed to lower intraocular pressure. Beta-adrenergic blocking agents, prostaglandins, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, alpha-adrenergic agents, miotics, and sympathomimetic drugs are examples of eye drop medications used to treat glaucoma. All of these medications lower intraocular pressure.
Who Is More Likely To Develop Diabetic Eye Disease
Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic eye disease. Your risk is greater with
- high blood glucose that is not treated
- high blood pressure that is not treated
High blood cholesterol and smoking may also raise your risk for diabetic eye disease.
Some groups are affected more than others. African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Hispanics/Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and older adults are at greater risk of losing vision or going blind from diabetes.
If you have diabetes and become pregnant, you can develop eye problems very quickly during your pregnancy. If you already have some diabetic retinopathy, it can get worse during pregnancy. Changes that help your body support a growing baby may put stress on the blood vessels in your eyes. Your health care team will suggest regular eye exams during pregnancy to catch and treat problems early and protect your vision.
Diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy, called gestational diabetes, does not usually cause eye problems. Researchers aren’t sure why this is the case.
Your chances of developing diabetic eye disease increase the longer you have diabetes.
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