If you have diabetes, you know you need to monitor your glucose levels so you can live a healthy life. Many conditions can result from glucose levels that are too high or too low, but did you know that improper amounts of glucose in your body can damage your eyes? Read on to learn about the connection between blood sugar and your eye health.
Why Does Diabetes Cause Eye Disease?
Whenever you eat, your body creates insulin to break down the glucose from your food and distribute it to different cells. Diabetes is a condition that occurs when someone isn’t producing enough insulin or their body doesn’t use insulin as well as it should. This leads to a build-up of glucose in the blood, and if not properly monitored, this excess can cause numerous health problems.
High levels of glucose in the blood can change the amount of fluid in your eyes or cause some of the tissue in your eyes to swell, causing blurry vision. If you lower your glucose levels in a short amount of time, your eyesight will return to normal, and there may be no permanent damage. However, having high levels of glucose for an extended period of time can damage your eyes permanently. This can cause diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, and glaucoma. The increased levels of glucose in your blood might also damage the blood vessels in your eye, causing them to leak fluid or swell. Additionally, your body might begin to produce weaker blood vessels, which are more likely to leak fluid into the center of your eye. If enough leaked fluid builds up in the eye, it can create intense pressure and swelling, which can result in scarring and permanent damage.
How to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease
The best way to prevent diabetic eye disease is to monitor your glucose levels regularly and make corrections to your diet if you need to. Keeping your diabetes in check can prevent damage to your eye’s blood vessels. You should also avoid smoking, which can significantly increase your risk of developing a diabetic eye disease. Aim to maintain a healthy blood pressure and safe cholesterol levels.
Your preventative care doesn’t stop there. Talk to your ophthalmologist to see how often you should receive a complete eye exam, including dilation. The average person with diabetes should complete an exam once per year.
Symptoms You Should Tell Your Doctor About
If you experience any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist to talk about your concerns.
- Blurry vision
- Eye pain
- Double vision
- Faded colors
- Light sensitivity or halos around lights
- Red eyes
- Seeing spots