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Diabetes and Vision

Do you know the connection between diabetes and your eyes? The raised levels of blood sugar associated with diabetes can harm your eyes in a couple of ways.

The risk of damage to your eyes is increased when diabetes is not treated. Diabetic eye disease can actualize in a number of forms.

The most common eye complication of diabetes is one that can lead to destruction of the blood vessels that lead to the retina. This is called diabetic retinopathy and is a leading cause of blindness in adults.

The retina is the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye, which is essential for proper vision. Retinal damage can cause irreversible blindness. While controlling diabetes reduces the likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy, it does not completely eliminate the risk and consequently it is of utmost importance to have your eyes checked yearly if you have diabetes.

Periodic fluctuations in blood sugar levels, largely present when diabetes is not controlled, can affect the lens of the eye. Because blood sugar levels have an impact on the ability of your lens to maintain sharp focus, this can result in blurred vision that fluctuates with glucose levels.

Diabetics are more likely to develop cataracts, a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes clouded, which impacts vision. Cataracts are a common condition that comes with aging, but happens at an earlier age in people with diabetes.

Glaucoma, which is a result of increased pressure in the optic nerve, can lead to blindness. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma.

The optimal prevention for conditions related to diabetes is control of glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, to eat properly, exercise and refrain from smoking. Since eye damage is often not noticeable until damage has occurred it is critical to have regular yearly checkups with an eye doctor to diagnose any developing damage early on. While it is common that vision loss caused by diabetic eye disease of any kind is permanent, further vision loss can be prevented by early detection.