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Four Ways Diabetes Affects Your Eyes

Having a regular eye examination when you have diabetes is vital. A high blood sugar count can lead to eye-related problems and even blindness. We have seen cases where patients as young as 20 years old lose their vision.

We’ve put together some ways in which diabetes can affect your eyes and things to watch out for.

Blurry vision

We often blame blurry vision on ageing but this can be caused by diabetes. If you are unable to see objects with clarity, lack sharpness in vision and the out-of-focus parts of a photograph we recommend booking an eye examination. If left untreated the high blood sugar levels can damage small blood vessels in the retina over time, which can lead to sight loss.

Glaucoma

People with diabetes are likely to have glaucoma. This is when pressure builds up in your eyes because fluid can’t drain like it should. Glaucoma is called the ‘silent thief of the night’ because you can’t feel anything until it is too late. You may notice headaches, blurry vision, watery eyes, halos around the eyes or even loss of peripheral vision but it may have progressed by then. If detected early Glaucoma can be treated with drops or laser surgery.

Cataracts

This is when the lens, a small transparent disc inside your eye, develops cloudy patches. These are common as people get older but people with diabetes tend to get them earlier and they tend to get worse quicker. Cataract surgery is common and simple to perform. A surgeon will remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a new, clear lens.

Diabetic Retinopathy

High blood glucose levels in people with diabetes causes the blood vessels in the retina to ‘leak’ which causes haemorrhaging of blood and fluids. If undiagnosed and untreated, advanced Diabetic Retinopathy has the potential to cause severe vision loss. The leaky blood vessels can produce fluid which can cause swelling (oedema) in the central part of the retina (macula).

The Need for Regular Eye Examinations

A full yearly eye examination can help find problems early, which means they’re easier to treat. It could save your vision. When our patients come in for an eye examination we always take a full medical history that includes finding out if they have diabetes. Many are taken aback and don’t realise how diabetes affects the eyes.

If you have diabetes you should ensure you have an eye examination at least once a year.