If You Have Diabetes, Keep an Eye on Your Vision

If You Have Diabetes, Keep an Eye on Your Vision

A little-known fact is that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in U.S. adults. People without diabetes are often surprised by this, and it even comes as a shock to many with diabetes. There are many ways in which diabetes can cause serious vision problems. How does this happen, and what can you do to prevent them?

How Diabetes Impacts Vision

The lens of your eye can swell if you have high blood sugar. That changes its shape over time. One of the very first potential signs of diabetes is your vision becoming blurry. No, this doesn't mean that every person with blurry vision has diabetes. It can be an early indication, but there are many other causes of blurry vision. Diabetes is just one of them.

This isn't the only vision problem diabetes can cause, however. There are a number of ways that diabetes can damage your vision beyond making things blurry for you. Many of these will start with blurry vision and progress to more serious vision conditions.

Glaucoma results from additional pressure in the eye. This damages the optic nerve and can result in lost vision. Diabetics are 40% more likely to have glaucoma than those without diabetes.

Cataracts cloud the eye. Not only are people with diabetes 60% more likely to develop them, but they're also much more likely to develop them at a younger age. Beyond this, cataracts in diabetics tend to get worse at a faster rate than in non-diabetics.

Retinopathy might be the scariest. This is what happens when high blood sugar affects the blood vessels that supply the eye. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels throughout the body, but the blood vessels that supply the eyes are crucial to keeping them healthy and functioning. Blood vessels can swell due to high blood pressure, causing them to become injured and even leak. When the delivery of blood is restricted to the retina, you can go blind. Retinopathy caused by diabetes makes up 12% of new cases of blindness.

Warning Signs

People have a tendency to think a problem that's ignored will go away. This is an understandable temptation, but it is simply not the case for vision problems. Vision problems will only get worse. They're usually a sign of a condition or damage that will further impact the quality and health of your vision.

It is very possible to lose your vision completely if you ignore any problems. Pay attention to these warning signs:

  • Blurry vision
  • Cloudy vision
  • Spots floating in your vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Eyestrain
  • Eye pain
  • Flashes of light
  • Blind spots or black spots in your vision
  • Double-vision
  • Sudden changes to your vision

If you notice any of these changes, they need to be checked out by an optometrist. Obviously, the serious ones are indications of very serious problems. The more common ones can still be indications of a serious problem, especially among people with diabetes. Make the appointment. It's easier to take the hour and ensure the health of your eyes.

Remember, if you lose more of your vision or if you lose it completely, that's a lot more stress and medical expense than a single optometrist's appointment that could have prevented it. People's lives are busy and your time in demand, but it doesn't change your entire life to make an optometrist's appointment. It changes your life if you don't, and a preventable problem causes you to lose vision or go blind.

What Your Optometrist Can Do

If you have vision problems with diabetes, you're not destined to go blind. This is why it's so important for everyone – and especially those with diabetes – to have regular check-ups with their optometrist. An optometrist can catch warning signs early. They can identify the causes and come up with a plan that preserves your vision.

Just like any health condition, the earlier it's caught, the better the outcome is likely to be. Many times, damage can be corrected, further damage can be avoided, and the eye can be kept healthy and functioning. Many cases of blindness are very preventable. Yet a problem can't be fixed until you know about it. Many preventable cases of blindness just aren't taken seriously or addressed early enough with an optometrist.

Your vision is too precious to take a chance on it. The route toward ensuring the health of your eyes is a very easy one. The resources are there. All you have to do is reach out. Contact Asheville Vision Associates for more information