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Why Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

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 Diabetic Retinopathy: Q&a

Diabetes And Diabetic Retinopathy: Q&a

Q&A Menu To find the Q&As most helpful to you, please click on one of these subjects: How Does Diabetes Affect Eyes? Q: How does diabetes affect your eyes? — L.L., Connecticut A: Diabetes causes problems in the retina with what are collectively called microvascular abnormalities. The small blood vessels develop microaneurysms and leak blood. New blood vessel growth (neovascularization) occurs. Unfortunately, these blood vessels are weak and also leak. These leaks (hemorrhages) can cause irreversible damage to the retina and permanent vision loss. Patients with controlled diabetes do better than those with uncontrolled diabetes. However, even a person whose diabetes is under perfect control can still develop diabetic retinopathy — hence, the need for yearly retinal exams. — Dr. Slonim Q: Does diabetic retinopathy get progressively worse? — F.R. A: Yes. When left unrecognized and untreated, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and eventually lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy can even get worse despite use of the best treatments that currently exist for it. — Dr. Slonim Q: My father has type 2 diabetes and he is seeing double. We went to the hospital about a week ago and they said the diabetes had affected a nerve on the right eye. Can medicine get his sight back to normal? — W.C. A: Diabetes can affect any one of the three cranial nerves that are responsible for movement of the eyes. Diabetes is one of the more common conditions associated with sixth nerve (Abducens nerve) palsies. Paralysis of this nerve affects the lateral rectus muscle that allows the eye to look outward. There is no specific medicine for this. The paralysis can be temporary and last a few months or it can be permanent. — Dr. Slonim Q: Can diabetes cause you to have eye infections suc Continue reading >>

Facts About Diabetic Eye Disease

Facts About Diabetic Eye Disease

Points to Remember Diabetic eye disease comprises a group of eye conditions that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma. All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss and blindness. Diabetic retinopathy involves changes to retinal blood vessels that can cause them to bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. DME is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy that causes swelling in the area of the retina called the macula. Controlling diabetes—by taking medications as prescribed, staying physically active, and maintaining a healthy diet—can prevent or delay vision loss. Because diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed until vision loss occurs, people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect against vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with several therapies, used alone or in combination. NEI supports research to develop new therapies for diabetic retinopathy, and to compare the effectiveness of existing therapies for different patient groups. What is diabetic eye disease? Diabetic eye disease can affect many parts of the eye, including the retina, macula, lens and the optic nerve. Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye conditions that can affect people with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes 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 >>

Eye Conditions Related To Diabetes

Eye Conditions Related To Diabetes

Diabetes can affect your eyes in a number of ways. The most serious eye condition related to Diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. Early diagnosis is vital. Most sight-threatening diabetic problems can be managed if treatment is carried out early enough. Looking after your Diabetes and regular retinal screening can help to reduce your risk of developing the eye conditions related to Diabetes. We’ve produced a downloadable guide that will give you an in-depth understanding of Diabetes related eye conditions as well as advice on coping with the conditions. Diabetic retinopathy The most serious eye condition associated with Diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. It occurs when the tiny blood vessels at the back of your eye become blocked and leak. There are different types of diabetic retinopathy - Background diabetic retinopathy: Background retinopathy does not usually affect your sight, but your eyes will need to be monitored carefully to make sure your retinopathy doesn’t become worse. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy: If background retinopathy gets worse, many of the retinal blood vessels become damaged or blocked. When these changes affect a large area of your retina, blood supply to the retina is reduced. The body tries to fix this by growing new blood vessels on the retinal surface or into the vitreous gel. Unfortunately, these new vessels are weak and they bleed very easily, which may affect your vision. Diabetic maculopathy: When your macula (the central part of your retina) is affected by your retinopathy, you are said to have diabetic maculopathy. This means that your central vision, which is required for seeing fine detail and colour, will be blurred. You can get a more in-depth look at the different types and associated treatments in our Understanding diabetes gu 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 >>

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 >>

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetes Mellitus impairs the body’s ability to utilize sugars. This systemic disease affects the walls of small blood vessels throughout the body. When not well controlled, diabetes can affect the eye in several ways. Diabetic Retinopathy Diabetic Retinopathy affects the delicate retina by causing a deterioration of the blood vessels. The retina is the portion of the eye that acts much like the film in a camera. All light images are carried from the retina to the brain by the optic nerve. Background diabetic retinopathy is a milder form of the disease. Only a few vessels are enlarged and form small balloon-like sacs called micro-aneurysms. These leaky vessels can cause small hemorrhages and fluid deposits on the surface of the retina. This is the earlier stage of the disease and vision is not usually seriously affected. If the leakage, however, causes fluid to collect in the center of the retina, known as the macula, straight ahead images can be blurred and a loss of central vision may result. About one half of all diabetics will have some form of retinopathy by 10-15 years of their disease. A more serious form of the disease is called Proliferative Retinopathy. Abnormal blood vessels grow which are very fragile and can rupture causing large hemorrhages to leak into the vitreous gel that fills the back part of the eye. These large blood clots block light passing through the pupil and can significantly reduce vision. Significant scar tissue and loss of vision can result from detachments of the retina. It is recommended that diabetic patients have at least a yearly examination of the retina by a doctor experienced in treating diabetic eye disease. If retinal disease is present, your doctor may see you more frequently. In some cases, photography may be necessary to loca Continue reading >>

How Does Having Diabetes Affect My Vision?

How Does Having Diabetes Affect My Vision?

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects how your body uses glucose, or sugar. About 26 million Americans are diabetics, and roughly one in every four adults over the age of 60 has the disease. One of the side effects of diabetes is that it can weaken blood vessels in the body, including the eyes. There are several eye conditions that are connected to diabetes, so it is wise to be familiar with them so you can protect your vision: Diabetic retinopathy Long-term diabetes can damage the retina of the eye and cause a condition called diabetic retinopathy. There are two types: Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. This is the early stage of the disease, where the weakened blood vessels in the retina begin to leak. As fluid accumulates in the retina, it causes blurred vision. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the later stage of the disease where the blood vessels in the retina close, and abnormal blood vessels grow in their place. This can lead to detachment of the retina and vision loss. Cataracts A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye, a condition that affects one in six Americans over the age of 40. Although anyone can develop cataracts, diabetics tend to experience a quicker deterioration of the lens. Cataracts can be removed with surgery and the old lens can be replaced with a customized prescription intraocular lens (IOL). Glaucoma Glaucoma is not caused by diabetes, but a significant percentage of diabetics develop glaucoma. Glaucoma is a family of diseases that damage the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual images to the brain. Increased eye pressure creates stress on the optic nerve, and this can result in permanent vision loss. Researchers are still seeking answers to the diabetes-glaucoma connection, but statistics show th 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 Health

Eye Health

If you have diabetes, it is likely that you will develop some changes to your eyes. Diabetes sometimes causes the focusing ability of the eye to weaken or to vary from day-to-day however; this problem eases when blood glucose levels are stable. Diabetes can also cause vision loss from Diabetes Retinopathy (damage to the very small blood vessels on the back of the eye). Diabetic Retinopathy The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with the length of time you have had diabetes. The risk is also increased when blood glucose levels are not well controlled over time. Good blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and regular comprehensive eye examinations can greatly reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy but it does not eliminate it. Diabetic Retinopathy can occur regardless of the type of diabetes you have, your age, or even the control you have over your blood-glucose levels. It’s best to have regular eye examinations so that changes can be detected and treated early. People who have diabetes should have their eyes checked from when diabetes is first diagnosed, and then regularly checked every two years. Symptoms Diabetic Retinopathy If you notice any changes in your vision contact your doctor. Some examples of symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy include: Blurred, distorted or patchy vision that can’t be corrected with prescription glasses Problems with balance, reading, watching television and recognising people Being overly sensitive to glare Difficulty seeing at night. In the early stages of Diabetic Retinopathy there may be no symptoms and the disease may not be diagnosed until it is advanced. Double vision This is a rare complication of diabetes. Double vision is usually temporary but it may last for a few months. An optometrist can help trea Continue reading >>

Blurry Vision And Diabetes: What's The Connection?

Blurry Vision And Diabetes: What's The Connection?

Blurry vision is being unable to see the fine details. Another way of describing it is seeing a lack of sharpness. Blurred eyesight is similar to seeing things as if they are in the out-of-focus parts of a photograph. The blurriness can be subtle or obvious, can change through the day, and can come on slowly or quickly. It depends on the cause. Diabetes can cause blurry vision for a variety of reasons. Both short-term and long-term complications can affect the vision of someone with diabetes. Contents of this article: How does diabetes affect the eyes? Long-term uncontrolled diabetes can lead to high blood sugar levels that cause damage to small blood vessels over time. This damage can lead to problems with part of the eye called the retina which can create blurred vision. Short-term blurriness in people with diabetes is due to a different cause. Fluid shifts into and out of the eye due to high blood sugar levels, causing the lens of the eye to swell. This change in its shape causes blurriness as the lens is the part that focuses light onto the back of the eye. This short-term issue will resolve once blood sugar levels are lowered. Can diabetes treatment cause blurriness? Diabetes can also cause short-term blurriness if blood sugar levels fall too low (hypoglycemia). This can happen due to the timing of food or a change in activity levels in people who take medication that increases insulin in the body. Rather than being caused by changes in the eye, blurriness from low blood sugars is caused by the effects of hypoglycemia on the brain. Vision affected in this way will return to normal after glucose levels return to normal. Is blurry vision with diabetes temporary? As stated above, blurry vision can be caused by both short-term and long-term complications of diabetes. L 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 Eye Disease

Diabetic Eye Disease

A A A Do I need to follow-up with my doctor after being diagnosed with diabetic eye disease? Diabetes is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide, and, in the United States, it is the most common cause of blindness in people younger than 65 years of age. Diabetic eye disease also encompasses a wide range of other eye problems, for example, Diabetes may cause a reversible, temporary blurring of the vision, or it can cause a severe, permanent loss of vision. Some people may not even realize they have had diabetes for several years until they begin to experience problems with their eyes or vision. Diabetes also may result in heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and circulatory abnormalities of the legs. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 8.1 million people additional people went undiagnosed. (This population is unaware that they have diabetes.) In the United States 1.2 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every year. In the US in 2012, the total annual cost of diagnosed diabetes was 2.45 billion. Eighty-six million people in the US have prediabetes, and 9 out of every 10 don't know they have it. Of the 86 million people with prediabetes, without lifestyle changes 15% to 30% of them will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Lifestyle management has been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes by at least two-thirds. It can also slow or halt the progression of prediabetes to diabetes. People can try to avoid the problems associated with diabetes, including those that affect the eyes, by taking appropriate care of themselves by the following: Maintain a normal level of weight Watch your diet, especially limiting unhealthy types of fats and Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Eye Health

Diabetes And Eye Health

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Although glucose is an important source of energy for the body’s cells, too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause damage in many parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys, blood vessels and the small blood vessels in the eyes. When the blood vessels in the eye’s retina (the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye) swell, leak or close off completely — or if abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina — it is called diabetic retinopathy. People who are at greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy are those who have diabetes or poor blood sugar control, women who are pregnant, and people with high blood pressure, high blood lipids or both. Risk also increases with duration of diabetes. For example, one woman developed diabetic retinopathy after living with diabetes for 25 years. Also, people who are from certain ethnic groups, such as African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, are more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy. In fact, a new study confirms that diabetes is a top risk factor for vision loss among Hispanics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 90 percent of diabetes-related vision loss can be prevented, but early detection is key. People with diabetes should get critical, annual eye exams even before they have signs of vision loss. However, studies show that sixty percent of diabetics are not getting the exams their doctors recommend. Something to remember: diabetes can cause vision in your eyes to change even if you do not have retinopathy. If your blood sugar levels change quickly, it can affect the shape of your eye’s Continue reading >>

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