Eye problems are a common complication of diabetes, and can lead to vision loss if left untreated. There are several steps that people with diabetes can take to prevent eye problems, including maintaining good blood sugar control and eating a healthy diet. It is also important to see a doctor for regular eye exams so that any problems can be detected early and treated.
The different types of eye problems that can be caused by diabetes
There are three main types of eye problems that can be caused by diabetes: diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that damages the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. It is the most common type of diabetic eye disease, and it is also a leading cause of blindness in adults.
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens. People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at an earlier age than those without diabetes.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve, which carries information from your eyes to your brain. People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing glaucoma than those without diabetes.
The symptoms of diabetes-related eye problems
The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include blurry vision, floaters (tiny specks that seem to float in your field of vision), and dark or empty areas in your field of vision.
The symptoms of cataracts include blurry vision, trouble seeing at night, and glare from bright lights.
The symptoms of glaucoma include painless loss of peripheral vision (side vision), tunnel vision, and severe eye pain with redness in the eye.
How to prevent eye problems from diabetes.
Steps to take to prevent diabetes-related eye problems
There are several things you can do to prevent or slow the progression of diabetes-related eye problems:
-Control your blood sugar levels. This is the most important thing you can do to prevent diabetic eye disease.
-Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
-Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
-Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk for many complications from diabetes, including diabetic eye disease.
-See your doctor for regular checkups and screenings, as recommended.
When to see a doctor about diabetes-related eye problems.
If you have diabetes, it is important to have regular comprehensive dilated eye exams. A comprehensive dilated eye exam is the best way to find early signs of diabetic eye disease.
During this exam, drops are placed in your eyes to widen or dilate the pupils. This allows your doctor to better examine the inside of your eyes and look for early signs of disease.
Some people with diabetes may need a dilated eye exam more than once a year. Your doctor will let you know how often you need an exam based on the stage of your diabetes and your risk for developing diabetic eye disease.
If you develop any symptoms of diabetic eye disease, it is important to see your doctor right away so that the condition can be treated as early as possible. Some common symptoms of diabetic eye disease include:
· Blurry vision
· Dark spots or strings in your vision (floaters)
· Difficulty seeing at night
· Eye pain or pressure
· Seeing double
· Sensitivity to light
· Feeling like there is something in your eye
If you have diabetes, it is important to have an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam. A comprehensive dilated eye exam is the best way to detect early signs of diabetic retinopathy, as well as other eye problems that can occur with diabetes.
What to expect when you see a doctor about diabetes-related eye problems
During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your doctor will:
• Look at the front of your eyes to check your retina and optic nerve for signs of disease
• Check your intraocular pressure
• Perform a visual acuity test
• Use drops to widen (dilate) your pupils so that your doctor can get a good look at the back of your eyes and examine them for signs of diabetic retinopathy or other eye problems.
The best way to prevent diabetes-related eye problems is to control your blood sugar levels. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help you keep your blood sugar levels in check. If you have diabetes, it’s important to see an eye doctor at least once a year so they can check for signs of eye problems.