Diabetes affects over 100 million people in the United States. It can lead to several types of eye disease, making it the number one cause of blindness in adults aged between 20 and 74. If you have diabetes, understanding how the condition affects your eyes may be helpful for preventing problems. To help you care for your vision, here’s more information about diabetic eye problems and how to avoid them.
How Diabetes Affects Your Vision
High blood sugar causes a range of eye problems. One is blurred vision, which arises when high blood sugar causes body water to be drawn to the lens of an eye, making it swell. This can be corrected by keeping blood sugar within the range established by your doctor. People with diabetes may also get cataracts at an earlier age than other people, and risk of glaucoma is doubled in diabetes patients.
If your blood sugar stays high for a long time, it can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina. This can lead to a condition called diabetic retinopathy, which may result in vision loss if not treated promptly. It can also lead to diabetic macular edema (DME), which causes further swelling of the retina. Around 10% of diabetics experience this condition.
How to Prevent Issues
If you have diabetes, make regular visits to your eye doctor to reduce the chances of eye disease. An annual visit is recommended even if you are not experiencing any problems, since some forms of eye disease may not show symptoms at first. You must also make an appointment if you experience black spots, flashes of light, or blind spots in your vision, which are signs of eye disorders.
Another way to prevent vision problems is with careful management of diabetes. This means closely controlling blood sugar levels with insulin, exercise, and a healthy diet. You should also control your cholesterol levels and quit smoking to reduce your blood pressure.
To prevent diabetic eye disease, rely on West Valley Vision Center in Fairbanks, AK. Their welcoming, professional team offers everything from prescription glasses to Lasik® eye surgery. Their optometrists diagnose problems in the early stages to help you stay healthy. Learn more about eye conditions on their website or call (907) 479-4700 to schedule an appointment.