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How can diabetes affect your eyes?

Since November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness month, let’s talk more about how diabetes can affect your eyesight.

Remembering what we talked about last week with diabetes, there is a Type 1 (less common) and a Type 2. When your blood sugar is too high, it can change a number of things in your eyes.

Refractive changes

Primarily, it can cause the crystalline lens to swell and it can change your refractive error. This will change your eyeglasses and your contact lens prescription. If the blood sugar is not stable, with highs and lows, it can even cause your vision to fluctuate throughout the day. As you can imagine, this makes it very difficult to obtain an accurate glasses measurement! It is dependent on the blood sugar.

This is one of the reasons why it is so important to keep your blood sugar steady 24/7 and follow the recommendations of your diabetic doctor.

Ocular health changes

More serious complications can happen when bleeding occurs inside the eye. When your blood sugar is too high, your blood vessels become leaky because the cells are not able to hold tightly together. This causes blood, protein, and other fluids to leak out of the blood vessels.

This bleeding will occur everywhere in your body, but we can directly visualize it inside the eye (without cutting you open!). This is why we always communicate to your diabetic doctor so that they know if we saw any signs of diabetic retinopathy inside the eyes. If we see signs of diabetic retinopathy, then your doctor knows that your blood sugar needs to be lower.

If the bleeding is extensive inside the eye, this is when people have the risk of going blind. Blood is toxic to the retina. Plus, it is thick. You cannot see through it!

Take care of your body

Your vision is just another reason to keep your blood sugar and diabetes under good control. Your optometrist at Vision Source Mandan can help you with that!


Top image by Pixabay on Pexels (location) used under Creative Commons Zero (CCO) License. Image has been cropped and modified from original. Image rights state commercial use and modifications allowed when image was obtained on 11/07/2017.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.