Slideshow: Diabetes Complications -- Eye Problems and Blindness
Diabetes can make you more likely to have eye problems. Your blood sugar (glucose) levels may be high because your body can't make or use insulin properly. Too much blood sugar can build up and harm your nerves and blood vessels. Damage to the blood vessels in your eyes can lead to vision loss or blindness. Anyone with diabetes is at risk, so it’s important to get yearly eye exams.
Diabetes can affect your eyes in different ways. When your blood sugar is high or when you start insulin treatment, you may have blurry vision or other problems. But your eyes can be damaged even if you don’t notice any changes. Don’t wait for symptoms to arise to get your vision checked.
The retina senses light coming into your eye, and it sends messages to your brain about the things you see. Damage to blood vessels inside the retina from blood sugar buildup is called diabetic retinopathy. You might not notice changes at first, but over time the walls of your blood vessels may leak fluid. When you’ve had diabetes for a while, blood vessels can form scar tissue and pull the retina away from the back of your eye. This can lead to severe vision loss and even blindness.
Your doctor can diagnose retinopathy during a thorough eye exam. He’ll use a special dye to find leaking blood vessels. In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy often can be treated with laser surgery called photocoagulation. The laser seals the blood vessels and stops them from leaking and growing. The procedure can't restore lost vision. Combined with follow-up care, though, it can lower your chance Continue reading