Diabetes is a disease characterized by your body’s impaired ability to produce or use the hormone insulin, which is needed to break down sugar in your body. As a result, the sugar molecules end up in your bloodstream, making your blood thick. Thickened blood can compromise its flow to the different organs, including your eyes.
As we observe Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month this November, your eye doctor discusses how diabetes can affect your eye health.
High blood glucose levels can cause the small blood vessels in your eyes to rupture. This can lead to blood leaking into your retina, the part of your eye that receives light and converts it into nerve signals. If this is left unmanaged, it can also cause swelling of the macula, which is a part of the retina that helps in your central vision. In addition, since your eyes are not receiving needed oxygen and nutrients, they may compensate by growing more blood vessels. These new blood vessels, however, are fragile and burst easily.
When you have diabetic retinopathy, you may see spots or dark strings floating across your field of vision. You may also have a hard time distinguishing colors. Blurred vision may progress into loss of sight later on, too. To prevent this from happening, visit your optometrist as soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes. Doing so will allow us to monitor your eyes and detect any signs of diabetic-related eye problems early. The sooner we identify them, the better chances we have of saving your vision.
Other Eye Conditions Related to Diabetes
High glucose levels can trigger new blood vessels to grow, blocking the normal fluid flow in your eyes. This can eventually cause the pressure inside your eyes to increase. This is why diabetes is often linked to glaucoma. This condition occurs when the pressure inside your eyes becomes too high that it compresses and eventually damages your optic nerve, which is the nerve that transmits signals from your eyes to the brain.
Apart from diabetic retinopathy, those with diabetes are also at risk of developing cataracts. This refers to the clouding of the natural lenses of your eyes. When this happens, light is blocked from entering your eyes, resulting in your blurred vision and dull color perception. Your eye doctor can remove cataracts through surgery.
The single most important thing you can do to keep your eyes in good health is to have your eyes checked by your eye care specialist. Call us today at (847) 550-3524 for Lake Zurich or (847) 979-4601 for Libertyville to schedule an appointment. We serve Barrington and nearby areas.