Diabetes is a condition that is caused when blood sugar levels within the body becomes too high and can affect people of all ages. There are various side-effects of having diabetes and it is a condition that should be taken seriously and monitored closely. Looking after your eyes when you have diabetes is vital as having the condition can cause eye problems, which if not looked after correctly, can lead to deterioration and potential irreversible eye damage. In this article I will look at 4 ways diabetes can affect the eyes.
1. Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is probably the most commonly known complication of having diabetes and must be taken seriously as it can lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy affects the retina, which is the back of eye. The retina is the part of the eye that converts the light we see into signals which are sent to the brain via the optic nerve, this is then processed by the brain into the images that we see. Diabetic retinopathy is caused when the small blood vessels on your retina become blocked, leak or grow abnormality due to the high blood sugar levels.
There are 3 types of diabetic retinopathy;
Background diabetic retinopathy - this type is the very early changes to the retina, it doesn't normally affect sight but must be monitored carefully to ensure it doesn't become worse.
Diabetic maculopathy - this type is when the background diabetic retinopathy has developed on or around the macular. The macular is crucial when giving good vision as it provides central vision. Having diabetic maculopathy can affect sight.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy - this type is caused when background diabetic retinopathy become worse. When the blood vessels become damaged or blocked in a large area by the above two types it causes a reduced supply of blood to the retina. The body tries to compensate this by growing new vessels on the retina's surface, but these vessels tend to be very weak and bleed, which in turn can affect the vision. The bleeding also can cause scarring which pulls on the retina, this can cause a retinal detachment. While retinal detachments can be fixed, sometimes this may not be possible, leading to impaired vision or blindness.
4. Blurred Vision
Remember if you have diabetes to get your eyes checked regularly. Everyone over the age of 12 with diabetes should be invited to a yearly diabetic eye screening and it is important not to miss this. Early detection of diabetic eye diseases could save your vision.
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Annoying but necessary - I'm not a Healthcare Professional so please check with your Healthcare Professional before changing anything concerning your well being.