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How Can You Tell If Diabetes Is Affecting Your Eyes?

November 1, 2022

If you have diabetes, you know that it can affect your blood sugar levels. However, did you know that your eyes may also be affected by this disease? If not treated properly, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. Fortunately, there are ways to tell if your eyes are being affected by diabetes. 

Read on as an Arvada, CO optometrist discusses diabetes, its effects on your eyes, and signs of diabetic retinopathy to watch for.

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot properly use blood sugar or glucose. This can cause complications in many parts of your body, including those related to vision. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition caused by diabetes that affects the retina—the light-sensitive layer at the back of your eye that sends images to your brain. Signs and symptoms include blurred vision and floaters (dark spots moving across your field of vision).

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when abnormal small blood vessels grow on or inside the retina, damaging it over time. This damage can lead to serious problems with your vision: macular edema (swelling), hemorrhages (bleeding), and neovascularization (new growth).

Signs That Diabetes Is Affecting Your Eyes

  • If your vision suddenly becomes blurred
  • If you notice a sudden change in your vision, such as blurriness or distortion.
  • If you have a headache that doesn’t go away with rest and over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • If the skin around your eyes is puffy and swollen. Diabetic retinopathy can cause swelling around the eye, which is called exudative retinopathy. This swelling can cause blurry vision and also make it difficult to open your eyes fully (called lagophthalmos).
  • If you’re experiencing new eye pain or discomfort, especially if this has not been a problem before or if it gets worse over time (instead of better).
  • If you have floaters—tiny specks of debris floating across your field of vision—or flashes of light that come on suddenly, either in one eye or both eyes at the same time

Overall, diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes that can cause blindness if it’s not treated. If you have diabetes and notice any changes in your vision, contact your doctor immediately. It’s important to get regular eye exams so that any signs of diabetic retinopathy can be detected early on.

If you have more questions or wish to schedule an eye examination, please don’t hesitate to call our Arvada, Co optometry office today!

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