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How Does Diabetes Cause Vision Loss?

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to use and produce insulin to control blood glucose levels. We wonder how many readers are aware that diabetes can affect your heart, kidneys, legs, nerves, and even your gums and teeth. In addition, this disease affects your vision if you’re not keeping blood sugar levels in check. Today we deal with one issue. How does diabetes cause vision loss?

How Diabetes Affects the Eyes

If you have diabetes, you can be in danger of losing your vision. It’s necessary to keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range. It’s equally important to see a retina specialist at least once a year for a thorough dilated eye exam.

When you are diabetic, the major diseases that affect your vision include:

Early diagnosis and early treatment is the best way to preserve your vision. 

Let’s take them one at a time.

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Sadly, this eye disease is the most dangerous as it can cause blindness if not caught and treated. It happens to be the leading cause of blindness in working age adults.

It occurs when high blood sugar damages the blood vessels in the retina. They then swell up and leak causing blurry vision and preventing proper blood flow. New abnormal blood vessels tend to grow as compensation, but only can make things worse, including retinal detachment.

Once new blood vessels begin to form, this is an advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy.

Signs of Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Dark shapes or black spots in your vision
  • Floaters
  • Trouble distinguishing colors
  • Blurred vision

What Is Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)?

The macula is the part of your retina needed for reading, driving, and just seeing faces. This disease develops after signs of diabetic retinopathy.

DME causes the macula to swell resulting in loss of sharp vision, partial vision loss, or blindness.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease causing loss of peripheral vision at first. It comes on gradually and may not be noticed at first. As it progresses more vision loss may occur.

This is another reason diabetics should see an opthamologist at least once a year before it progresses further.

What Are Cataracts?

Anyone can get cataracts as they age, but diabetics are more at risk. The natural lenses in our eyes can become clouded with deposits causing problems with vision and normal activities. 

Risk Factors for Diabetic Diseases and Vision Loss

Smoking is a risk factor for diabetes and its diseases. Additionally, if you have had diabetes for a long time, this increases risks for vision loss. 

Other factors include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Not having control over blood glucose levels
  • Becoming pregnant

Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, including gestational diabetes developed during pregnancy, you are at risk for any of the diabetic diseases.

You can keep all these possible diseases at bay by visiting Retina Specialists of Tampa. Contact us at (813) 973-3333 for an appointment in Tampa, Wesley Chappel, or Lakeland. You can alternatively request an appointment through our secure online form.

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