Diabetes and Blindness: The Silent Threat

Diabetes and Blindness: The Silent Threat

If you have diabetes, you should take care of your eyes and protect your eyesight. Studies show diabetes can damage eye health over time, causing vision loss or blindness. Individuals with diabetes have a high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. Fortunately, managing your diabetes and scheduling regular eye exams can prevent vision issues.


Diabetes-Related Eye Disease


Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in people with diabetes. The condition usually affects both eyes and occurs when large amounts of blood sugar damage the retina’s blood vessels.


The damaged vessels swell and leak, causing blurry vision or preventing normal blood flow. Sometimes, new abnormal blood vessels grow on the retina, causing vision complications. Individuals with any type of diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy.


Diabetes and Blindness


The longer an individual has diabetes, the higher the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and other blindness-causing eye diseases. High levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol increase the risk.


Diabetic retinopathy has two stages: early and advanced stage. During the advanced stage, the retina grows new, abnormal blood vessels. The new vessels are fragile and tend to bleed. Severe bleeding into the vitreous can block the vision. Failing to get prompt treatment can lead to permanent vision loss.


Symptoms of Diabetes-Related Eye Diseases


Several symptoms can indicate you have diabetes-related eye disease or diabetic retinopathy. The symptoms include:


  • Blurry vision

  • Flashes in the vision

  • Vision distortions

  • Spots in the vision

  • Blind spots

  • Difficulty performing detailed tasks or reading


Most people do not experience symptoms in the early stages of the disease. It is vital to get medical attention if you experience vision changes.


Prevent Diabetes-Related Eye Diseases


There are things you can do to prevent or delay the development of diabetes-related eye diseases.


  • Schedule regular dilated eye exams

  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels

  • Keep your cholesterol and blood pressure levels healthy

  • Embrace a physically active lifestyle

  • Quit smoking


Observing changes in your lifestyle can help to improve your overall health and protect your vision.


Nutrition and Diabetes


If you are living with diabetes, you need to make healthy diet choices. What you eat will determine how you feel. All foods affect blood sugar levels, but some have a higher impact than others.


Diets high in fat, carbs, and calories affect blood sugar levels and increase the risk of developing diabetes-related eye diseases. You can find diabetes-friendly recipes for all your meals. A healthy diet can help to prevent vision loss.


Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment


If you have diabetic retinopathy, an eye doctor can recommend treatment to prevent or delay vision loss. Treatment options include laser therapy (photocoagulation), VEGH inhibitors, removal of the vitreous (vitrectomy), and corticosteroid injections. Your doctor will prescribe a treatment plan based on the severity of your condition.


People living with diabetes need regular eye exams. Diabetes-related eye diseases are common, but treatments are very effective. Early detection and treatment are vital for effectiveness. A healthy lifestyle and annual dilated eye exams can help to protect the eyesight.


For more on diabetes and blindness, visit Lifetime Vision and Eye Care at our office in Miami Gardens, Florida. Call (305) 902-3320 to book an appointment today.

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