Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Too much glucose in the blood for an extended period can cause damage to many parts of the body. Diabetes can damage the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and small blood vessels in the eye.
Diabetic eye disease is a term for several eye problems that can all result from diabetes. Diabetic eye disease includes:
Diabetic retinopathy is when blood vessels in the retina swell, leak, or close off completely. Abnormal new blood vessels can also grow on the surface of the retina.
People who have diabetes or poor blood sugar control are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. Risk also increases the longer someone has diabetes.
Macular edema happens when fluid builds up on the retina and causes swelling and blurry vision. Diabetes can cause macular edema. Diabetic macular edema can lead to permanent vision loss.
Excess blood sugar from diabetes can causes cataracts. You may need cataract surgery to remove lenses that are clouded by the effects of diabetes. Maintaining reasonable control of your blood sugar helps prevent permanent clouding of the lens and surgery.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that cause damage to your eye’s optic nerve. This damage leads to irreversible loss of vision. Having diabetes doubles your chance of getting glaucoma.
Diabetes can cause vision problems even if you do not have a form of diabetic eye disease.
If your blood sugar levels fluctuate, it can affect the shape of your eye’s lens, causing blurry vision. Your vision goes back to normal after your blood sugar stabilizes. Have your blood sugar under control before getting your eyeglasses prescription checked. This ensures you receive the correct prescription.
Diabetes is a risk factor for several other eye diseases. They include:
To prevent eye damage from diabetes, maintain reasonable control of your blood sugar. Follow your primary care physician’s diet and exercise plan. If you have not had an eye exam with an ophthalmologist in Calgary, it is crucial to book one as soon as possible. Be sure never to skip the follow-up exams that your ophthalmologist recommends.