Living with diabetes is tough. You have to check your blood sugar, adjust your diet, a monitor other additional or potential health complications. Eye health is one of these potential health complications, and one to which both type 1 and type 2 diabetics should pay special attention. Diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss for people under age 74, but there are steps you can take to better manage your eye health.
Diabetes and Your Vision
Anyone can get cataracts, but people with diabetes are 60% more likely to develop this condition. The link between diabetes and cataract is not yet fully understood, but current research suggests that excess blood sugar causes a sugar called sorbitol to accumulate in the eyes. Sorbitol, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, encourages swelling which, in turn, can cause vision problems.
Diabetes can also cause another ocular complication known as diabetic retinopathy. Symptoms may include dark spots in your vision, blurred vision or impaired ability to see colors. High blood sugar can cause blockages to the blood vessels that lead to the retina, which can eventually develop into more severe complications, including blindness or glaucoma.
What You Can Do
- Manage your blood sugar levels: One of the most important ways a diabetic can manage their health, including their eye health, is by maintaining proper blood sugar levels. Consult with your physician about what steps you can take to regulate your blood sugar, which may include diet, exercise and medication.
- Make regular visits to an ophthalmologist: Whether you have diabetes or not, an ophthalmologist can detect problems in your eyes long before you notice any symptoms or changes in vision. If you are pregnant, your doctor may recommend extra eye exams throughout your pregnancy.
- Decrease your exposure to other risk factors: In addition to diabetes, there are other risk factors associated with higher risk of developing cataracts. UV radiation, for example, has been linked with an increase of free radicals that may cause cataracts over time. If you live in a sunny area or work outside, it is particularly important to wear sunglasses that properly protect your eyes. Finally, if you smoke, stop. Smoking can increase and accelerate the development of cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.
Explore Treatment Options For Diabetics with Cataracts at Eye Center of Texas
Cataracts may require surgery, in which a surgeon removes the lens of the eye and replaces it with an artificial one. Diabetes may, however, increase your risk of complications or infections during surgery. If you have or think you may develop any vision conditions due to diabetes, consult with a qualified physician at Eye Center of Texas who can help you find the best solution.