Diabetic Eye CarePreventing Vision Loss
Diabetes is a common disease that can affect all areas of your life and your health, including your vision. Diabetic retinopathy is a serious complication that can result in blindness if it isn’t caught and treated early. Diabetic eye care is a vital part of helping your vision stay clear and healthy when you live with this disease.
The Effects of Diabetes on Your Eyes
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that results in elevated or fluctuating blood sugar levels. This has a wide range of effects throughout your body—but one of the most serious is damage to your vision. In the back of your eye, in the area called the retina, you have many tiny blood vessels. These blood vessels provide oxygen and nutrients to the nerves tissue there. These nerves transmit what you’re seeing to your brain. Elevated, out of control blood sugars from diabetes damage these capillary blood vessels, which in turn damages the nerves you need for sight. This is diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes also increases your risk for other eye problems. You may be more prone to glaucoma, especially if you’ve lived with diabetes for a long time. Your risk only increases as you age. You may be more likely to develop cataracts at a younger-than-average age, and they may progress more quickly as well. All of these problems can lead to blurry vision, trouble seeing, and—in the case of severe diabetic -retinopathy—permanent blind spots. The only way to prevent these outcomes is by catching and treating the problems early.
Complete Diabetic Eye Care is Key for Protecting Vision
Many eye conditions, including glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, cause problems without symptoms. You could already be experiencing damage before you notice changes. The key to catching the problem early and preventing permanent vision loss from diabetes is proactive diabetic eye care. You will need to have your eyes checked at least once a year. This includes having specialists like Dr. Ed Leuschner, Dr. Bryan Huffman, and Dr. Peter Bast dilate your pupils to look inside your eyes and examine your retina. This allows our team to catch and treat potential problems early, before they have a chance to damage your sight.
Emergency treatment to halt the progression of serious complications like diabetic retinopathy is important, too. If you do have damage to the back of your eye, you have to act fast to save the rest of your vision. This can include laser treatments to prevent blood vessels weakened by elevated blood sugar levels from leaking. Occasionally more invasive methods like surgery are necessary to save your sight.
Controlling fluctuating blood sugar levels and paying attention to changes in your eyes is also a part of your diabetic eye care. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable helps prevent damage. Make sure to get changes to your sight checked quickly, too—if you do notice an increase in blurry vision or other problems, having your eyes checked can prevent issues from worsening.
Living with diabetes can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to mean a loss of vision. Proactive diabetic eye care is the best, most effective way to protect your eyes and continue to see clearly. Don’t wait until you notice blind spots to seek help. Get your eyes checked at the Sight Eye Clinic in Zeeland, MI, to catch problems before they worsen. You can make an appointment with us or request more information by calling (616) 772-2020.