In 2012 it was reported that about 1.25 million adults and children in the United States have type 1 diabetes. As a type 1 diabetic, your pancreas no longer produces insulin, so you rely on insulin injections and frequent testing of your blood sugar to regulate the disease. Because your blood sugar level can also be affected by stress, illness, exercise, and the food you eat, it can be hard to keep it in a healthy range. When your blood sugar level is too high, it can cause damage to many parts of your body, but especially your eyes. Here are three types of eye problems that can affect you when you are diabetic and how to prevent and treat them.
Being diabetic can result in your blood sugar levels being higher than normal, as your body does not produce the insulin it needs to regulate this. When you don't check and regulate your blood sugar levels, your eyes and vision can become affected. If your blood sugar has been higher than the recommended range of 70–130 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL 1 to 2 hours after a meal, the sugar levels in your blood can put pressure on your eye's blood vessels. This can cause the lens of your eye to swell and make your vision appear blurry, as if you need a new and stronger corrective lens prescription.
To correct this type of glucose-caused vision blurring, it is important to keep your blood sugar regulated and within the recommended range. Test your blood sugar every few hours and treat with insulin, when necessary. Then, once you have your blood sugar regulated at normal and healthy levels, it can take up to three months for your vision to return to normal and no longer be blurry. Also, see your eye doctor regularly to check for any diabetic-related eye damage.
When you are diabetic, you also need to have your eye doctor regularly check your eyes for glaucoma. As a diabetic, you can be susceptible to develop neovascular glaucoma, which occurs when your eyes grow new blood vessels over the iris of your eye. This new growth can prevent fluid from flowing from the eye, in turn raising the pressure of your eye.
Unfortunately, this type of glaucoma is hard to treat. Laser surgery is used to cut back some of these new-growth blood vessels. Some ophthalmologists and other eye doctors are investigating the use of placing an implant in the eye to help drain the excess fluid and release the pressure. It is best to try to prevent this type of glaucoma by seeing your eye doctor at least once a year for a dilated eye exam.
A cataract is a cloudy film that grows over the lens of your eye, blocking out some or all your vision. It may result in blurred vision or create a glare in your vision. You are 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts in your eyes when you are diabetic. Also, as a diabetic you are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age and have them progress faster than nondiabetics who get cataracts. For this reason, you should always see your eye doctor every year to check for and treat cataracts before they grow too large and block your vision.
If your eye doctor finds your eyes are developing mild cataracts, there are steps you can take to deal with your problematic vision, such as wearing glare-control lenses in your glasses and wearing sunglasses more often. When your cataracts become so large they affect your vision, you can have surgery to repair the condition. During surgery, your clouded lens or lenses are removed and replaced with a man-made lens. Surgery is usually used as a last resort as removing your lens can cause you diabetic retinopathy to become worse.
If you are diabetic, take care of your vision and see your eye doctor to check for these eye conditions so you can prevent and treat them. For further concerns, contact a representative from a center like the Advanced Retinal Institute Inc.Share