When one thinks about the impacts of diabetes, issues like diet, heart conditions and weight loss come to mind. For many, loss of vision isn’t often considered, but is a very real ailment associated with diabetes. The specific condition is called diabetic retinopathy, a condition attributed to damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. High blood sugar can also lead to cataracts and glaucoma, which happen earlier and more often when you have diabetes. Awareness is key to identifying vision issues caused by diabetes and November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, so Illinois Eye Center is sharing the warning signs to be mindful of.
- Blurry, cloudy, or double vision
- Flashing lights or rings around lights
- Blank, dark, or floating spots in your vision
- Pain, pressure, or constant redness in your eyes
- Trouble seeing signs or straight lines
- Trouble seeing out of the corner of your eye
- Any sudden change in your vision
Of course, if you notice any of these issues, you should contact Illinois Eye Center to schedule an appointment to discuss your specific issues with your doctor.
If you’re at risk for diabetes related vision loss, whether or not the symptoms above are affecting you, there are active steps that can be taken to manage the mitigate the risks to your vision and protect your eyes.
Schedule appointments See your eye doctor at least once a year so they can spot any problem early and treat it.
Keep your blood sugar in check. This is key to slowing the damage to your eyes. Regular A1c blood testing can help to look at your recent blood sugar history. In most cases, your result should be around 7% or less.
Same for your blood pressure. The combination of high blood pressure and diabetes can be especially impactful to your vision. For most people with diabetes, blood pressure should be less than 130/80.
Check your cholesterol levels. A simple test can tell you how much “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol you have. Too much LDL is linked to blood vessel damage, which can impact the eyes.
Eat for wellness. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein are good diet selections. You should also ask your doctor about when you should eat and how much is appropriate if you take insulin.
No smoking. Smoking cigarettes cause problems with your blood vessels, which makes you more likely to end up with eye trouble.
Get moving. Exercise can make a big difference in your blood sugar. Once again, if you use insulin, ask your doctor about the best types of workouts for you.
Diabetes can impact the body in a variety of ways and the first step is awareness of those symptoms. Once you’ve consulted with your medical team, taking the proper steps to address aggravating factors like those listed above is critical to long-term health. If you have diabetes and suspect that your vision is being impacted, call Illinois Eye Center to make an appointment with a doctor about your unique situation.