Why Does Diabetes Affect Your Eyes
There are three types of diabetes . All involve ones body improperly handling insulin, a hormone that delivers glucose to the cells in your body. If an individual has too much glucose in their bloodstream because insulin is not carrying it to the cells, then this can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves.
Over time, the bodys mismanagement of glucose causes the blood vessels around the retina to weaken. If signs of pathology in the retina are undetected and therefore left untreated, the vessels can rupture and leak blood into the eye. This can eventually lead to more severe consequences, including blindness.
Diabetes And Vision Loss
Get a dilated eye exam at least once a year to protect your eyesight.
Diabetes can damage your eyes over time and cause vision loss, even blindness. The good news is managing your diabetes and getting regular eye exams can help prevent vision problems and stop them from getting worse.
Eye diseases that can affect people with diabetes include diabetic retinopathy, macular edema , cataracts, and glaucoma. All can lead to vision loss, but early diagnosis and treatment can go a long way toward protecting your eyesight.
When Is The Best Time To Schedule A Diabetic Eye Exam
Schedule a diabetic eye exam as soon as you notice vision problems. If youve been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, the wisest move is to schedule an eye exam regularly so as to catch anything before it becomes a problem. Vision issues can be hard to detect due to the fact that eye strain is something thats commonly experienced by many people regardless of their health status.
Diabetes is increasingly common, though great strides have been made both in preventive care and in the treatment of diabetes. If you think you may be experiencing complications due to diabetes, or if youd like to schedule an appointment to learn more about what you can do to protect your sight, .
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Diabetic Eye Disease Treatment
Diabetic Eye Disease Treatment can vary from self-care to surgeries, depending on the severity. A few self-care treatments available for people suffering from eye diseases caused due to diabetes include managing blood glucose through diets, exercise, or medication. Depending on the extent of damage caused by dabetic retinopathy , the ophthalmologist may need to recommend laser therapy or Anti-VEGF injections to prevent or decrease growth of abnormal new vessels.
In advanced cases, surgical treatment by using vitrectomy and laser therapy may be required to prevent irreversible damage.
Early Changes In Diabetic Retina
Diabetic retinopathy is a microvasculopathy in that the microvasculature leaks serum, increased vascular permeability, and capillaries are lost early in the disease. Hyperglycemia and mitochondrial and extracellular reactive oxygen species are toxic to endothelial cells , pericytes, and neurons, resulting in their death early in DR. There is accumulating evidence that low-grade inflammation underlies the vascular complications of DR.1113 Inflammation is a nonspecific response of the body to tissue injury in which leukocytes are recruited to the inflamed tissue. Diabetic retinopathy is categorized best as a chronic low-level inflammation in which there are elevated systemic cytokines like TNF- and IL-1 and elevated numbers of circulating activated leukocytes.1416
Nishiwaki and associates observed leukostasis, sticking and retention of leukocytes labeled with acridine orange, in real time within the microvasculature of diabetic rats.17 Leukostasis was observed as early as 2 weeks after induction of diabetes by STZ. This is approximately the same time frame as for leakage of the inner bloodretinal barrier in rats, which has been observed as early as 1 week after induction of diabetes.18,19 These two events appear to be the earliest changes that occur in the STZ diabetic rodent retina. The extent of leukostasis was the same at 1 month as it was at 11 months in diabetic mice, suggesting that leukostasis is chronic, like other diabetic pathologic processes.20
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Common Eye Diseases Among People With Diabetes
- Retinopathy causes small blood vessels in the retina to get weak and possibly leak blood. This disease can cause blindness if not treated. This disease has no symptoms when it starts, so its important to get your eyes checked regularly.
- Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens of the eye, which makes vision blurry. People with diabetes are more likely to get cataracts.
- Glaucoma causes pressure in the eye. If not treated, glaucoma can cause vision loss or blindness.
Ask your health care team to help you set and reach goals to manage your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol and stop smokingalso known as the ABCs of diabetes.
- A1C : The goal set for many people is less than 7% for this blood test, but your doctor might set a different goal for you.
- Blood pressure: High blood pressure causes heart disease. The goal is less than 140/90 mmHg for most people but check with your doctor to see what your goal should be.
- Cholesterol: LDL or bad cholesterol builds up and clogs your blood vessels. HDL or good cholesterol helps remove the bad cholesterol from your blood vessels. Ask your doctor what your cholesterol numbers should be.
- Smoking: If you smoke or use other tobacco products, take steps to quit. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for support.
Teach your family about your diabetes and the ABCs so they can help you.
How Does A Diabetic Eye Exam Work
A diabetic eye exam can occur two ways:
Getting dilated eye examinations are so important, says Cai. This allows your doctors to identify issues early and offer you treatments if you need them to prevent vision loss from diabetes.
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Risk Factors For Diabetic Retinopathy
Anyone with type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop it. These factors can also increase your risk:
- Blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels that are too high.
- Race/ethnicity: African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives are at higher risk.
If you have diabetic retinopathy, low-vision aids such as magnifying glasses and special lenses can help. Ask your eye doctor to refer you to a low-vision specialistexternal icon.
Your Night Vision Has Changed
How clearly can you see other cars on the road when you drive? What about street signs? Often times, the first hint that something is wrong with your vision is when your night vision begins to get worse. Common symptoms include seeing halos around lights and difficulty distinguishing objects at night.
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Diabetic Eye Disease Treatments At Dean Mcgee Eye Institute
Controlling your blood sugar levels and scheduling an annual comprehensive eye exam are the two most effective ways for people with diabetes to prevent diabetic eye disease. Contact your eye doctor to determine if you need more frequent appointments.
Should you need additional diabetic eye treatment, the diverse and talented team at Dean McGee Eye Institute offers several options to provide symptomatic relief. Request an appointment by giving us a call at 405.271.6060 or 800.787.9012, or by filling out our appointment request form using the button below.
Symptoms Of Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic retinopathy causes blood vessel damage in the retina. Left untreated, it can cause vision loss and can develop into DME.
Approximately 40% to 45% of patients with diabetes have symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, though many don’t notice it. Symptoms can include:
- Blurry vision
- Faded, washed out appearance of colors
- Blank or dark areas in your field of vision
Diabetic macular edema is a build-up of fluid in the center of the retina, or the macula. This part of the eye is responsible for sharp vision and most of our color vision. Symptoms can include:
- Blurry or wavy vision in the center of your field of vision
- Noticing colors appear faded or washed out
Both forms of diabetic eye disease are treatable. Types of treatment and effectiveness depend on the severity of the condition.
At UT Southwestern, we take a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and treat diabetic eye disease. If we detect diabetes-related eye symptoms and you have been diagnosed with diabetes, we can recommend that you follow up with your endocrinologist or primary care doctor.
If we see signs of eye damage but you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, we can refer you to a diabetes expert at UT Southwestern. The ophthalmology team works closely with our endocrinology doctors and nurses to make sure you have the treatment and information you need to reduce your risks.
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Who Is More Likely To Develop Diabetic Eye Problems
Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic eye disease. But your risk of developing it is higher if you:
- Have had diabetes for a long time
- Don’t have good control over your high blood sugar or high blood pressure
Talk with your doctor if you have these symptoms, even if they come and go:
- Spots or dark wavy strings floating in your vision
- Blurry or wavy vision
- Vision that changes a lot
- Trouble seeing colors
Diabetics Have A 20 Times Higher Risk Of Suffering From Vision Loss
Diabetics are at risk for acquiring three primary eye conditions: cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
Other visual problems caused by diabetes include blurred vision, maculopathy, and proliferative retinopathy.
Its critical to keep your blood sugar under control and have your eyes examined by an eye doctor at least once a year to avoid these sight-threatening diseases.
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Is Diabetes Affecting Your Eyes 7 Signs Of Diabetic Eyes
Diabetes is becoming an increasingly alarming problem in the US. The estimated number of people over the age of 18 with diabetes, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, is 30.2 million-or roughly 30% of the population. The effects of diabetes can be disastrous, especially on the eyes, known as diabetic eyes. At Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, Georgia, our vision is to set the standard in affordable, quality healthcare, including diabetic eye exams.
What Does Diabetes Do To Your Eyes
Any type of eye problem that affects people with diabetes falls under the umbrella term of diabetic eye disease. Diabetic eye disease can include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.
The increased blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can impact your eyes in a number of ways. The most common impact is weakened blood vessels that leak into your eye causing swelling that can damage the sensitive structures in your eye. Diabetes can also cloud the lens of your eye, and is associated with an increased risk of elevated eye pressure that can damage your optic nerve and lead to vision loss.
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How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed
An eye doctor can diagnose diabetic retinopathy during a simple exam.
- Visual acuity: Acuity refers to how clearly you can see.
- Intraocular pressure to make sure there are no signs of glaucoma.
- Eye muscle function: Muscle function refers to how well you can move your eyes.
- Peripheral vision: Peripheral vision is seeing from the sides of your eyes.
- Pupil response: This assessment looks at how your pupils react to light.
Then, your eye doctor will put drops into your eyes. The drops dilate your pupils .
During this exam, the doctor looks for:
- Abnormal blood vessels.
- Bleeding in the center of your eye.
- Growth of new blood vessels.
- Retina swelling.
- Visual acuity.
In the early stages of the disease, your healthcare provider may use a wait-and-see approach especially in the setting of good vision. During this phase, you have regular eye exams but donât need further treatment. Some people need eye exams every two to four months.
Other treatment options include:
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.
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Which Eye Problems Are Commonly Associated With Diabetes
Retinopathy is the most common form of eye problem in people with diabetes. Large research studies, such as the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial published in 1993, show that risk of developing retinopathy increases with higher HbA1c values, higher blood pressure and increasing duration of having had diabetes.
Diabetes eye problems occur when blood glucose levels are left untreated, or may be hereditary and exacerbated by diabetes .
A simple visit to an ophthalmologist could help to stop thousands of people each year from going blind, this is why people with diabetes should have a dilated eye examination at least once per year.
Diabetes And Your Eyes
Everyone needs to take care of their eyes, but when you have diabetes, eye exams are especially important.
1. Eye damage can occur prior to any symptoms developing.
Diabetes is a systemic disease affecting many organs. The eye is the only organ with blood vessels that are readily visible to a trained provider without having to dissect or cut tissues. When damage occurs to the blood vessels in the eye, this is called diabetic retinopathy. When diabetic retinopathy develops, there often are no symptoms until the retinopathy has reached a moderate or advanced stage. In the advanced stage, the retinopathy can cause rapid and permanent vision loss. During your diabetic eye exam, your eye care provider can detect not only subtle changes in your eyes caused by diabetes, but also can detect cataracts, glaucoma and any other eye-related issue.
2. The earlier any eye disease is found, typically, the better the prognosis.
Diabetic damage to the eye should be addressed as soon as possible in order to ensure the best outcome.
Even if your annual eye exam was normal, we encourage you to report symptoms like these to your eye care provider right away:
- Blurred vision
- A sudden appearance of spots or floaters
- Flashing lights
- Objects that look larger or smaller than normal
- A dark or empty spot in center of your vision
- Difficulty seeing well at night
- Droopy eyelid
3. Treatments are available when indicated for diabetic eye disease.
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How To Tell If Diabetes Is Affecting Your Eyes
by Matossian Eye Associates | Nov 6, 2020
It goes without saying that individuals with diabetes must give the highest priority to getting blood sugar stabilized. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a whole host of complications and body damage that theres simply not space to explore here. So, well stick to what we know best: vision care.
Below are four of the most common eye complications from diabetes, plus the single biggest thing you can do to avoid them:
Know Your Blood Sugar Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Levels
It can be easier to keep your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control if you know what level they are and monitor them regularly.
The lower you can keep them, the lower your chances of developing retinopathy are. Your diabetes care team can let you know what your target levels should be.
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Regular Eye Exams Are Important
All people with diabetes are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy develops over time and often goes unnoticed until vision loss occurs.
Following your diabetes ABCDEs and getting your eyes checked regularly by an ophthalmologist or optometrist are crucial to prevent vision loss or keep it from getting worse.
If you have diabetic retinopathy, very effective treatments are available. Your eye-care specialist will explain these to you.
Are Your Dry Eyes Worse In Summerheres How To Help
Most people understand that diabetes affects your blood sugar and the insulin levels in your body. Theyre also generally aware that being diabetic can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Whats not as well known is that it can also impact your vision.
Too much glucose in the bloodstream can damage the blood vessels and nerves throughout the body, including the eyes. Diabetes can even cause certain eye diseases to develop. In this blog, well review the most common diseases and how they can affect your sight.
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