The Connection Between Diabetes and Eye Disease: What You Need to Know

Wonder how diabetes increases the risk of eye problems? Read these FAQs to understand the connection between diabetes and eye disease. At Doral Health & Wellness, we have all the answers you need.

FAQs on Connection between Diabetes and Eye disease

These FAQs help you understand the connection between diabetes and eye disease and how to manage them.

  1. How does diabetes increase the risk of eye disease?

Ans. Diabetes occurs when your body either doesn’t respond or doesn’t produce enough insulin to manage blood sugar levels in your body. When you have too much glucose in your bloodstream, it starts damaging the blood vessels and nerves that run throughout the body, including the eyes.

Unmanageable diabetes can increase the risk of diabetes-related disease (DRD). It includes:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular edema
  1. What is diabetes-related diseases (DRD)? Are you at risk of DRD?

Ans. Diabetes-related diseases are a group of eye diseases that are caused due to diabetes. It includes:

  • Diabetic retinopathy: This condition is the leading cause of decreased vision or blindness in Americans ages 20 to 74 years. It affects blood vessels in the retina causing either leaking of the vessels or growth of abnormal new blood vessels on the retina’s surface. If you have diabetes, you need to get regular eye examinations so that the doctor can ensure you get treatment as soon as possible even before the symptoms show up. To protect your eyes, you need to manage your diabetes properly by following your treatment guidelines which help you either delay or prevent vision loss.
  • Macular edema: This condition leads to blurry or distorted vision due to fluid leaking in the center of the retina (macula) that provides sharp, straight vision which is caused by diabetes.
  • Glaucoma: This condition is caused by diabetes. High sugar levels can damage the retina’s blood vessels and result in the creation of abnormal new ones. When these new blood vessels grow on the eye’s iris, it causes pressure inside the eye which makes the fluid difficult to pass, damages nerves and blood vessels, and causes changes in vision like blindness.
  • Cataracts: This condition can form earlier and progress faster in diabetic people due to increased sugar levels in their blood. It affects the eye line and creates a cloudy build-up in front of the lens which blurs their vision and glare.

If you have diabetes whether type 1 or type 2, you are at risk of DRD.

  1. How can diabetes-related eye disease be prevented?

Ans. The best way to prevent DRD is to effectively manage your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Here are certain ways that you can manage these factors of diabetes:

  • Manage your blood sugar: To manage your blood sugar levels, you need to keep an eye on blood sugar levels and avoid fluctuations that lead to diabetic eye diseases. Take medications on time and follow the prescribed lifestyle changes to keep your blood sugar levels in the targeted range. Additionally, you should also get your eyes checked once a year, to know that your blood sugar is under control and your eyes are in good health.
  • Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol: Your doctor may prescribe medication or lifestyle changes to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in normal range because high blood pressure and cholesterol can increase the risk or worsen diabetic eye disease.
  • Stop smoking: Smoking can increase damage to your blood vessels including the ones in your eyes, so quit it right away.
  • Avoid harmful rays: When you go out, protect your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun by wearing sunglasses. Exposure to those rays can boost the progression of cataracts.
  1. Should you consider diabetic eye exams?

Ans. In case you are diagnosed with diabetes, you should consider regular eye exams to ensure that your eyes are healthy, and diabetes doesn’t affect your eyes. If any changes are detected, it can get treated easily and save your vision.

  1. What diabetes-related eye problems need immediate medical attention?

Ans. If you have diabetes and you experience some or any sudden changes in your vision, you should seek immediate medical attention:

  • Blurring
  • Black spots in your vision
  • Bind spots
  • Distortion
  • Flashes
  • Difficulty reading or doing detailed work.
  1. What treatment options are available for DRD?

Ans. Treatment options can’t undo the damage that has already happened to the eyes; however, they can prevent damage and lower the progression of the disease. Prompt treatment can cure DRD before the sight gets affected. The most common treatment options for DRD include:

  • Laser therapy (laser photocoagulation)
  • Medicines are called VEGF inhibitors or corticosteroids.
  • Vitrectomy (surgical procedure).
  • Reattachment of the retina (if the retina is detached).

 

Diabetes and eye disease are connected more closely than you think. Uncontrollable diabetes can cause considerable damage to blood vessels and nerves all over the body, which also includes the eyes. Early stages of eye disease don’t show any symptoms, that’s why only regular eye exams are the way to detect those changes in your eyes and get treated.

 

Need help with diabetes-related eye problems, visit our diabetologist in Brooklyn clinic for professional medical help. Call us on +13473845690 and get answers for all your queries. Log on to  www.doralhw.org or visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212 to book an appointment with our endocrinologist to get the best treatment. We have the best endocrinologists who treat these kinds of diseases and helpful staff to aid you during your treatment.