Diabetes is a complicated disease with many implications. We get it. The last thing that we want to do is contribute to your stress, anxiety, and concerns regarding how diabetes influences your health. There’s a lot on your mind already.
If you’re living with diabetes, it is important that you become extra diligent with respect to your eye care.
You are likely aware of diabetic retinopathy and how it can damage your vision. However, retinopathy is just one eye disease the diabetes can cause. Diabetes also significantly increases the chances of glaucoma (by 40%) and cataracts (by 60%). Additionally, people with diabetic retinopathy may also develop diabetic macular edema (DME). Left unchecked, the implications to your vision can be perilous.
While diabetes does have dangerous implications for your eye health, proper management and support greatly reduce the potential for vision loss. If you’re in High River, Nanton, Okotoks, or Vulcan (or nearby), you can count on us for the support and guidance you need to enjoy great eyesight while living with diabetes.
Everyone experiences diabetes in their own way. Some may never have problems with their eyes, while others seem plagued by them. Here’s an overview of how diabetes can damage your vision.
Causes – Diabetic retinopathy, a disease exclusively reserved for those with diabetes, is caused by chronically high blood sugar. The sustained levels of high blood sugar damage blood vessels in the retina, eventually leading to vision loss as the damaged blood vessels leak fluid into the eye and cause irreparable retinal damage.
Symptoms – Retinopathy, like most eye diseases, has little in the way of initial symptoms. It may develop unnoticed for months before it starts to present symptoms indicating that something is wrong. Even then, the symptoms are similar to other diseases (some of which are less severe) and often wrongly “self diagnosed”. These include:
Causes – Exclusive to those already living with diabetic retinopathy, DME is the result of fluid from leaking blood vessels that permeates the macula (the part of the retina responsible for sharp vision), causing the retina to swell and impair vision.
Symptoms – Symptoms from DME are variable. Some people will experience symptoms, many don’t. They include a distortion of what you see (images appear blurry or wavy, similar to how heat waves distort vision on a hot day), as well as desaturated colours that appear to lack depth or fidelity.