If you have diabetes, your doctor may have told you to schedule annual eye exams. This is because diabetes can cause a number of eye complications.
These complications are not always symptomatic at first, but they’re treatable with early intervention. Here are the most common eye problems associated with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels in the retina, which is the layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye. In its early stages, the condition doesn’t present any noticeable symptoms, though your vision might go a bit blurry. Some people also see floating spots or dark streaks that look like cobwebs. Eventually, the blood vessels in the retina become damaged and start to bleed into the surrounding tissue. Retinopathy complications Several complications of diabetic retinopathy can develop. Diabetic macular edema is one, and it can cause blurry vision. This happens when blood vessels leak fluid and cause swelling in a part of the retina called the macula. If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, it can also cause scarring on the retina. Eventually the scars may cause the retina to lift away from the back of your eye, a condition which is called retinal detachment. Symptoms of this include blurred vision, the sudden appearance of many “floaters” in your vision, flashes of light, or a reduction in peripheral vision. A further complication of retinopathy is a type of glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma, which causes pressure on the eye and prevents fluids from draining. Cataracts People with diabetes get cataracts at a higher rate and earlier in life than those without the illness. Cataracts are slow-growing clouds of protein or pigment that develop in the lens of the eye and cause blurry vision, muted colours and may eventually cause blindness. Early on, cataract symptoms can be improved with glasses, but the patient may eventually require surgery. Treatment Once an eye problem is diagnosed, your eye doctor can determine the problem and the best treatment. Treatments range from regular monitoring of the condition to injections, laser treatment and eye surgery, depending on the problem. The earlier the issue is detected, the less invasive the treatment tends to be. If you’re concerned about how your diabetes might be affecting your eyes, make an appointment with us today at Optometrists’ Clinic, Inc.