Vision problems can come from a surprising variety of sources. While some causes are obvious,
such as injuries and genetic or hereditary issues, some seemingly unrelated conditions can
damage vision. One example is diabetes, a disease that affects over 30 million people in the
What Is Diabetes?
The two most common forms of diabetes are type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes. Type 1
diabetes is genetic and significantly rarer than the second form. People with type 1 diabetes
simply are not able to produce insulin (a key hormone in the body that allows you to transfer the
energy from blood sugar in your body.)
Type 2 diabetes (also known as hyperglycemia) occurs when your body is unable to use insulin
correctly, and creates an excess of insulin to make up for it. Type 2 diabetes is often attributed
to a poor diet and lack of exercise, but it can also be genetic.
How Does Diabetes Affect Vision?
Diabetes doesn’t just affect vision in one way. It can be the root cause of several different eye
conditions, such as cataracts , glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular edema.
Diabetic retinopathy results from damage to the retina due to high blood sugar. In the earlier
stages of the disease, high blood sugar levels will cause blood vessels inside the retina to swell
and leak fluid.
Diabetic retinopathy is a progressive disease. In the later stage of the disease, blood vessels on
the retina begin to leak blood, which can obscure vision and even cause blindness. This is
called proliferative diabetic retinopathy, and is the most advanced form of the disease.
During either stage of diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema is a risk. This condition
occurs when the fluid leaking from the blood vessels causes the macula (the central portion of
the retina) to swell. The macula is responsible for sharp, central vision. Macular edema can
make vision extremely blurry and result in blindness.
High blood sugar can also cause swelling in the lens of the eye. This causes distortion of vision.
While simply reducing your sugar intake and allowing your glucose levels to normalize may
solve this, it’s still very important to talk to your eye doctor about it. If you notice any changes in
your vision at all, be sure to contact your ophthalmologist.
Prevention Is More Effective Than Treatment
Diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts can be treated (though not cured in the case of
glaucoma). At our Hinsdale, IL office we have a variety of treatments and management
solutions to help you with these issues. However, the key to good health is catching problems
before they become serious. The best way to do this is to schedule regular exams at least once
a year with your eye doctor. Diabetes can change your life, but it doesn’t have to change the
way you see. Form the habit of yearly eye exams starting today!
Contact our Hinsdale, IL office today to schedule your eye examination. Call us at (630)
325-5200 or request an appointment online!