Diabetes is a systemic disease that affects how your body produces or uses insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that breaks down blood sugar into energy for your cells. If your body can’t use or produce insulin, these sugars remain in your blood and can damage your nerves, blood vessels, and organs.
The eyes are some of the most complex organs and are prone to problems when not properly cared for. With their delicate system of blood vessels and the essential optic nerve that transmits visual information to the brain, eyes are especially susceptible to complications from diabetes. These complications can develop into diabetic eye diseases.
You likely won’t have vision loss due to diabetes in the short term. But on occasion, you may experience blurred vision when your high blood sugar levels are high temporarily. High blood sugar levels can cause fluid build-up and swelling in the eye tissues and cause blurring. This blurring will go away when your blood sugar levels return to normal.
However, if your blood sugar levels remain high over a longer period, they can damage the blood vessels in your eyes and lead to more severe diabetic eye diseases.
At the back of the eye is the retina, a paper-thin lining of tissue that receives light and turns it into signals for your brain. Damaged blood vessels can harm the retina, leading to a disease called diabetic retinopathy.
As the disease worsens, blood vessels can become closed off, prompting new, abnormal blood vessels to grow in their place. These blood vessels can grow into the vitreous, a gel-like substance that makes up most of your eye. If these vessels break in your vitreous, they can cause floaters and obscure your vision.
The macula sits at the center of the retina and is responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision. Over time, diabetic macular edema could lead to central vision loss.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is like the superhighway for your vision. It takes the visual information gathered by your retina and transmits it to the brain. Without a functioning optic nerve, you can’t see. Damage to the optic nerve is irreversible, making glaucoma a serious threat to your eyesight.
Glaucoma often progresses with no early symptoms. Although it’s most common in older adults, it can occur at any age. If you have diabetes, you’re at a significantly increased risk for developing glaucoma.
At Golden Triangle Optometric Center, we have the toolkits to uncover even the smallest signs of eye health problems. Our advanced diagnostic technology and diabetes-specific exams help us diagnose early symptoms of diabetic eye disease more accurately.
Our primary goal is to protect your vision and overall health. Please call us soon to book your routine diabetic eye exam.