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How Does Diabetes Cause Eye Problems?

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Overview Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina). It can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated. However, it usually takes several years for diabetic retinopathy to reach a stage where it could threaten your sight. To minimise the risk of this happening, people with diabetes should: ensure they control their blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol attend diabetic eye screening appointments – annual screening is offered to all people with diabetes aged 12 and over to pick up and treat any problems early on How diabetes can affect the eyes The retina is the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye that converts light into electrical signals. The signals are sent to the brain and the brain turns them into the images you see. The retina needs a constant supply of blood, which it receives through a network of tiny blood vessels. Over time, a persistently high blood sugar level can damage these blood vessels in three main stages: tiny bulges develop in the blood vessels, which may bleed slightly but don’t usually affect your vision – this is known as background retinopathy more severe and widespread changes affect the blood vessels, including more significant bleeding into the eye – this is known as pre-proliferative retinopathy scar tissue and new blood vessels, which are weak and bleed easily, develop on the retina – this is known as proliferative retinopathy and it can result in some loss of vision However, if a problem with your eyes is picked up early, lifestyle changes and/or treatment can stop it getting worse. Read about the stages of diabetic retinopathy. Am I at risk of diabetic retinopathy? Anyone with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes i Continue reading >>

Prediabetes And Your Vision: Know The Facts

Prediabetes And Your Vision: Know The Facts

More than 29 million people in the United States are living with diabetes. 86 million Americans—more than one out of three—have prediabetes, and vision problems are one of the foremost complications accompanying this disease. It is important to know what those problems are and, most importantly, how you can delay diabetes from taking hold. Diabetes And Its Impact On Vision Currently, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults. The most common eye diseases caused by diabetes are retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. Here are the facts: Diabetic retinopathy accounts for 12 percent of all new cases of blindness in the U.S. Once a person is diagnosed with diabetes, they are 40 percent more likely to develop glaucoma. A person with diabetes is 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts. What Is Prediabetes? Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but aren’t yet high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Studies show that nearly eight percent of people develop diabetic retinopathy during the prediabetic stage, before they have been officially diagnosed with diabetes. Blurred vision is also a prominent symptom of prediabetes. If you are experiencing vision changes, get your blood sugar levels tested, as many people with prediabetes are already suffering complications from diabetes. (Statistics in the video are from 2010 studies.) What Can You Do? Diet and lifestyle changes can delay, if not entirely prevent diabetes from fully taking hold—especially during the pre-diabetic phase. Here are some things you can do to slow the onset of diabetes: Eat healthy foods. Increase fruit and vegetable intake and decrease fat and calorie intake. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Exercise helps muscle c Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Blurry Vision: What You Need To Know

Diabetes And Blurry Vision: What You Need To Know

Diabetes and blurry vision Diabetes refers to a complex metabolic disease in which your body either can’t produce insulin, doesn’t produce enough insulin, or simply can’t use it efficiently. All your body’s cells need sugar (glucose) for energy. Insulin helps to break down and deliver sugar to cells throughout your body. Sugar levels build up in your blood if you don’t have enough insulin to break it down. This is known as hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can negatively affect every part of your body, including your eyes. Blurry vision is often one of the first warning signs of diabetes. Your vision may be blurry because fluid is leaking into the lens of your eye. This makes the lens swell and change shape. Those changes make it hard for your eyes to focus, so things start to look fuzzy. You may also get blurred vision when you start insulin treatment. This is due to shifting fluids, but it generally resolves after a few weeks. For many people, as blood sugar levels stabilize, so does their vision. How can diabetes cause blurry vision? Diabetic retinopathy is a term that describes retinal disorders caused by diabetes. Some of these disorders include macular edema and proliferative retinopathy. Macular edema is when the macula swells due to leaking fluid. The macula is the part of the retina that gives you sharp central vision. Other symptoms of macular edema include wavy vision and color changes. Proliferative retinopathy is when blood vessels leak into the center of your eye. Blurry vision is one of the signs that this is happening. You may also experience spots or floaters, or have trouble with night vision. Blurry vision can also be a symptom of glaucoma, a disease in which pressure in your eye damages the optic nerve. According to the National Eye Institute, i Continue reading >>

Eye Problems & Diabetes

Eye Problems & Diabetes

The three major eye problems that people with diabetes need to be aware of are cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy. To prevent eye problems, you should: Control your blood glucose. Have your eyes checked at least once a year by an ophthalmologist (eye specialist). Control high blood pressure and lipids. Contact your doctor if any of the following occur: Black spots in your vision Flashes of light "Holes" in your vision Blurred vision Cataracts A cataract is a clouding or fogging of the lens inside the eye. When this happens, light cannot enter the eye and vision is impaired. Blurred vision Glared vision Treatment Surgery followed by glasses, contact lenses, or lens implant Glaucoma Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve (the "cable" that connects the eye to the brain and transmits light impulses to the brain). If the pressure inside the eye builds up, it can cause damage to this optic nerve. While most often there are NO symptoms from glaucoma, the following symptoms might occur: Loss of vision or visual field Headaches Eye aches (pain) Halos around lights Blurred vision Watering eyes Treatment Special eye drops Laser therapy Medication Surgery Prevention Have your eye doctor screen for glaucoma annually. Retinopathy Problems with the retina are called diabetic retinopathy. Problems develop as a result of fluid leaking from blood vessels into the eye or abnormal blood vessels formed in the eye. In either case, vision can be affected. If retinopathy is not found early or is not treated, blindness can occur. Sometimes there are no symptoms of retinopathy, but two common symptoms are: Blurred vision Spots or lines in your vision Laser therapy Surgery Injections into eye (advanced retinopathy) Have your eye doctor screen for retinopathy annually. Women with preexisting d Continue reading >>

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that occurs in people who have diabetes. It causes progressive damage to the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious sight-threatening complication of diabetes. Diabetes interferes with the body's ability to use and store sugar (glucose). The disease is characterized by too much sugar in the blood, which can cause damage throughout the body, including the eyes. Over time, diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when these tiny blood vessels leak blood and other fluids. This causes the retinal tissue to swell, resulting in cloudy or blurred vision. The condition usually affects both eyes. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they will develop diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include: Seeing spots or floaters Blurred vision Having a dark or empty spot in the center of your vision Difficulty seeing well at night When people with diabetes experience long periods of high blood sugar, fluid can accumulate in the lens inside the eye that controls focusing. This changes the curvature of the lens, leading to blurred vision. However, once blood sugar levels are controlled, blurred distance vision will improve. Patients with diabetes who can better control their blood sugar levels will slow the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy. Often the early stages of diabetic retinopathy have no visual symptoms. That is why the American Optometric Association recommends that everyone with diabetes have a comprehensive dilated eye examination once a year. Early detection and treatment can limit the potential for significant vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. T Continue reading >>

Vision Facts For Children With Diabetes

Vision Facts For Children With Diabetes

Diabetes and Your Child's Eyes Diabetes mellitus (mel-i-tuhs) is a disorder caused by a decreased production of insulin or by the body’s inability to use insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is necessary for the body’s control of blood sugar. Fluctuations in blood sugar can be harmful to the body, including the eyes. Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes) can occur at any age, but most commonly is diagnosed from infancy to the late 30s. In this type of diabetes, a person's pancreas produces little or no insulin. Children with diabetes are at risk of developing eye disease that can affect their vision. Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that affects those with diabetes. Diabetic eye disease may include: Diabetic retinopathy (ret-in-AHP-uh-thee) A potentially blinding condition in which the blood vessels inside the retina become damaged from the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes. This leads to the leakage of fluids into the retina and the obstruction of blood flow. Both may cause vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common and most serious eye-related complication of diabetes. It is a progressive disease that destroys small blood vessels in the retina, eventually causing vision problems. In its most advanced form (known as “proliferative retinopathy”) it can cause blindness. Nearly all people with juvenile (type 1) diabetes show some symptoms of diabetic retinopathy usually after about 20 years of living with diabetes; approximately 20 to 30 percent of them developed the advanced form. Those with type 2 diabetes are also at increased risk. Cataract (kat-uh-rakt) A clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. It can be compared to a window that is frosted or yellowed. Cataract may occur at Continue reading >>

Cataracts, Blindness, And Diabetic Dogs

Cataracts, Blindness, And Diabetic Dogs

Diabetic dogs can live healthy lives. Unfortunately, a common complication of diabetes in dogs is cataracts (cloudy lenses). In fact, 75% of dogs develop cataracts and blindness in both eyes within 9 months of being diagnosed with diabetes. The cataracts develop very quickly—sometimes overnight! If untreated, the cataracts cause intraocular inflammation called Lens-Induced Uveitis (LIU) that harms the eyes by causing glaucoma (increased intraocular pressure). If the LIU is uncontrolled and glaucoma develops, cataract surgery might not be possible. Glaucoma causes a chronic headache (similar to a migraine). In worst case scenarios, cataracts form rapidly in both eyes, the lens capsules split/rupture, severe LIU occurs resulting in glaucoma and severe painful intraocular inflammation (phacoclastic uveitis), and both eyes need to be surgically removed. This is a tragic outcome, and one to be avoided if possible. Thus, DO NOT WAIT until your dog’s diabetes is controlled, before seeing an ophthalmologist!! Another very important recommendation is that if your diabetic dog is started on a special canine antioxidant vision supplement BEFORE they develop cataracts, blindness can be prevented in many of these dogs. A 2012 clinical study in Great Britain found that diabetic dogs supplemented daily with this vision supplement did not develop blinding cataracts over a one-year period. This has also been Dr. McCalla’s clinical experience in diabetic dogs, as long as the diabetes remains well-controlled. If cataracts are developing in your diabetic dog, this is an ophthalmic emergency; you must have your pet examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist as soon as possible. To locate a veterinary ophthalmologist near you, please ask your family veterinarian or visit the ACVO website Continue reading >>

Eye Problems And Diabetes

Eye Problems And Diabetes

Eye problems and diabetes introduction If you have diabetes, regular visits to your ophthalmologist for eye exams are important to avoid eye problems. High blood sugar (glucose) increases the risk of diabetes eye problems. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20 to 74. If you have eye problems and diabetes, don't buy a new pair of glasses as soon as you notice you have blurred vision. It could just be a temporary eye problem that develops rapidly with diabetes and is caused by high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar in diabetes causes the lens of the eye to swell, which changes your ability to see. To correct this kind of eye problem, you need to get your blood sugar back into the target range (90-130 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after a meal). It may take as long as three months after your blood sugar is well controlled for your vision to fully get back to normal. Blurred vision can also be a symptom of more serious eye problem with diabetes. The three major eye problems that people with diabetes may develop and should be aware of are cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy. A cataract is a clouding or fogging of the normally clear lens of the eye. The lens is what allows us to see and focus on an image just like a camera. Although anyone can get cataracts, people with diabetes get these eye problems at an earlier age than most and the condition progresses more rapidly than in people without diabetes. If you have a cataract, there is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye that results in the inability to focus light, and your vision is impaired. Symptoms of this eye problem in diabetes include blurred or glared vision. During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed or cleaned ou Continue reading >>

Diabetic Retinopathy: Your Questions Answered

Diabetic Retinopathy: Your Questions Answered

Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes and the leading cause of new-onset blindness in American adults. Effective treatments are available to preserve vision for eyes at risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. The most opportune time for these treatments is before any vision has been lost, since even advanced diabetic retinopathy can be present when a person has no vision complaints or problems. What causes diabetic retinopathy? Diabetic retinopathy is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina, the thin, light-sensitive inner lining in the back of your eye. These changes are called diabetic retinopathy. How does diabetes damage the vessels in the retina? Elevated levels of blood glucose can damage the body in various ways, including harming the blood vessels in your eyes. Diabetes can affect the lining of the blood vessels in your eyes, causing them to thicken and develop leaks. Poor circulation in the retinal vessels can compound these problems by causing the production of fragile new vessels. What are the stages of retinopathy? Diabetic retinopathy is broadly classified as nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy. After 20 years of diabetes, most persons with diabetes will shows some signs of nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, which is generally not sight-threatening itself unless macular edema is present. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is a more serious stage of retinopathy and poses a greater risk of hemorrhage into the vitreous humor, the clear gel that fills the center of the eye, or detachment of the retina leading to severe vision loss. Diabetic macular edema can occur with either nonproliferative or proliferative diabetic retinopathy. There are various levels of nonproliferative diabetic re Continue reading >>

Could My Diabetes Cause One Of My Eyes To Be Red And Painful?

Could My Diabetes Cause One Of My Eyes To Be Red And Painful?

Diabetes can cause eye problems. Pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes could be a sign of damage to your retinas. Blurry or double vision, dark spots or blank areas and trouble seeing out of the corners of your eyes are other symptoms to watch for. The high blood sugar associated with diabetes, sometimes coupled with high blood pressure, can cause the tiny blood vessels of the eyes to swell and weaken, and possibly leak blood into the vitreous (the gel-like fluid within the eye). This can keep light from reaching the retina. Those damaged blood vessels may also develop scar tissue that could eventually pull the retina away from the back of the eye, a potentially dangerous problem called retinal detachment. You can minimize your risks of eye problems by keeping your diabetes under control. Getting regular eye exams can help you catch problems before they become too serious. Report any unusual eye symptoms to your doctor. It is more common to have red, painful eyes from a viral infection or allergic reaction. Allergies to pollens and dust in the air are the most common cause of red eyes, but this rarely causes pain. An eye infection that can cause red eyes is viral conjunctivitis, or "pink eye." Unfortunately, this infection has to run its course because antibiotics cannot help speed recovery. Serious bacterial infections can start on the surface or behind the eye of a person with diabetes and require strong antibiotics to cure. A common complaint of patients with either viral or bacterial infections is that they wake up in the morning with their eyelashes sticking together from the pus that has collected over the night. If your pain is more like a pressure sensation, then you may have glaucoma (although most glaucoma is painless). Glaucoma is too much pressure in Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Your Eyes — More Than Retinopathy

Diabetes And Your Eyes — More Than Retinopathy

You probably know that eye damage (retinopathy) is a major complication of diabetes. So when vision blurs, it’s normal to think the worst. But diabetes can cause blurred vision in several other ways, some of which are reversible. I’m embarrassed to admit I only recently found out that blurred vision is a symptom of diabetes, even without any retinal damage. When blood glucose levels go up, blood gets thicker. Thicker blood pulls in more fluid from surrounding tissues, including the lenses of the eye, impacting the ability to focus. -- Keep an eye on your vision! Learn about preventive steps and treatments for diabetic retinopathy from retinal specialist Dr. Charles Wykoff. >> Blood sugar and blurry vision According to WebMD, [Blurred vision] could just be a temporary problem that develops rapidly and is caused by high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell, which changes your ability to see. Changing the shape of the lens naturally throws off vision. This can be a chronic, 24/7 kind of problem, or it can occur only after a high-carb meal, when glucose is way up. The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide says that after-meal blurriness can be prevented by avoiding high-carb meals. The cure for chronic, all-the-time blurriness is to get blood glucose down to normal range before meals. It may take as long three months of relatively normal blood glucose levels before vision returns to your baseline normal. Diabetes can also cause blurriness or double vision due to hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). In this case, lens shape is probably not to blame. Low blood glucose can make it hard for the brain to focus on what the eye is seeing. Vision usually returns to normal when glucose levels rise. If blurriness doesn’t go away when glucos Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Eye Problems

Diabetes And Eye Problems

Tweet Diabetic retinopathy is the most common form of eye problem affecting people with diabetes, but further diabetes-related eye problems are common - such as glaucoma and cataracts. Both glaucoma and cataracts can have a serious influence on vision. Diabetic eye disease is a term that encompasses a range of eye problems. At their most extreme, each of these conditions can cause loss of vision and even blindness but treatments can help to reduce the risk of this happening. People with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from cataracts or glaucoma than the general population. [1] Which eye problems are commonly associated with diabetes? Retinopathy is the most common form of eye problem in people with diabetes. Large research studies, such as the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial published in 1993, show that risk of developing retinopathy increases with higher HbA1c values, higher blood pressure and increasing duration of having had diabetes. Diabetes eye problems occur when blood glucose levels are left untreated, or may be hereditary and exacerbated by diabetes (such as cataracts and glaucoma). A simple visit to an ophthalmologist could help to stop thousands of people each year from going blind, this is why people with diabetes should have a dilated eye examination at least once per year. Does diabetic eye disease treatment reverse vision damage? Major studies have shown that laser surgery lowers the risk of vision loss from diabetic eye disease. However, once diabetic eye problems have damaged the vision laser treatment is not effective in reversing damage. What is the relationship between blood sugar control and diabetes eye problems? Diabetes eye problems are directly linked to blood sugar control. Consistent control of blood glucose reduces the develop Continue reading >>

Diabetic Retinopathy And Diabetic Eye Problems

Diabetic Retinopathy And Diabetic Eye Problems

Professional Reference articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use. You may find the Pre-diabetes (Impaired Glucose Tolerance) article more useful, or one of our other health articles. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a chronic progressive, potentially sight-threatening disease of the retinal microvasculature, associated with the prolonged hyperglycaemia of diabetes mellitus and with other diabetes mellitus-linked conditions, such as hypertension. Diabetes mellitus can cause a variety of eye problems, the most common being DR, which is the most common cause of severe sight impairment among people of working age in England, Wales and Scotland.[1] Other conditions associated with diabetes and the eye include: Cataracts. Rubeosis iridis and glaucoma. Ocular motor nerve palsies. Diabetic retinopathy The exact mechanism by which diabetes leads to DR is not fully understood. Microvascular occlusion causes retinal ischaemia leading to arteriovenous shunts and neovascularisation. Leakage results in intraretinal haemorrhages and localised or diffuse oedema. These processes result in the characteristic features seen at various stages of DR: Microaneurysms - physical weakening of the capillary walls which predisposes them to leakages. Hard exudates - precipitates of lipoproteins/other proteins leaking from retinal blood vessels. Haemorrhages - rupture of weakened capillaries, appearing as small dots/larger blots or 'flame' haemorrhages that track along nerve-fibre bundles in superficial retinal layers (the haemorrhage arises from larger and more superficial arterioles). Cotton wool spots - build-up of axonal debris due to poor axonal metabolism at the margins of ischaemic infarcts. Continue reading >>

Diabetic Eye Problems

Diabetic Eye Problems

If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Over time, this can damage your eyes. The most common problem is diabetic retinopathy. It is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. Your retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye. You need a healthy retina to see clearly. Diabetic retinopathy damages the tiny blood vessels inside your retina. You may not notice it at first. Symptoms can include Blurry or double vision Rings, flashing lights, or blank spots Dark or floating spots Pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes Trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes Treatment often includes laser treatment or surgery, with follow-up care. Two other eye problems can happen to people with diabetes. A cataract is a cloud over the lens of your eye. Surgery helps you see clearly again. Glaucoma happens when pressure builds up in the eye, damaging the main nerve. Eye drops or surgery can help. If you have diabetes, you should have a complete eye exam every year. Finding and treating problems early may save your vision. NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Your Eyes

Diabetes And Your Eyes

Diabetic eye disease, caused by diabetes, is a leading cause of blindness and vision loss. Because of the high risk for eye disease, all people with type 2 diabetes should receive an annual dilated eye exam. For people with type 1 diabetes, an annual dilated exam is recommended after they have had diabetes for 5 years. Pregnant women with diabetes should see their eye doctor during the first three months of pregnancy and may need follow-up visits. Continue reading >>

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