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How Can You Tell If Diabetes Is Affecting Your Eyes?

October 30, 2022

Anyone living with diabetes is well-acquainted with the widespread effects it can have on the body’s systems, and the eyes are no exception. Over time, the wear and tear diabetes exerts on your eyes starts to take the form of noticeable symptoms. 

As with any other type of disease, early detection is key. In this post,  a Hackensack, NJ optometrist talks about the effects of diabetes and what signs may indicate it’s affecting your eyes. 

How Diabetes Affects the Body and the Eyes

Diabetes develops when your body doesn’t convert sugar into energy as it should. This, in turn, causes high blood sugar levels. When sugar levels remain high, this can damage organs throughout the body, including your eyes. 

Over time, the effects of diabetes start to cause swelling in the tissues that surround the eyes. When this happens, blood moves through your eyes’ blood vessels slower than it should, particularly the vessels that lead to your retina. Since the retina plays a central role in creating the electrical signals the brain uses to create the images you see, limited blood flow to the retina can interfere with your vision. 

In effect, these conditions cause a condition known as diabetic retinopathy to develop. 

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy to Watch for

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy tend to come on gradually as the effects of limited blood flow start to interfere with retinal function. As the condition gets worse, symptoms become more noticeable. 

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Inability to see at night
  • Loss of peripheral vision or your ability to see out of the side of your eye
  • Floaters, which appear as small dark figures or dots that move across your visual field
  • Blind spots in your field of vision
  • Difficulty distinguishing colors, as in not being able to tell blue from purple
  • Blurry vision in one or both eyes 

When left untreated, diabetes effects on your eyes may continue to compromise your vision, and can even result in blindness. 

Getting Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

As with any health problem, the sooner diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed and treated the better protected your vision will be. So if you’re experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, it’s best to get your eyes checked out.

An optometrist will perform a comprehensive eye exam, which enables him/her to view the blood vessels at the back of the eye that lead to the retina. Based on your condition, the optometrist will put together a treatment plan that addresses any immediate eye problems you may have along with instructions on how to better manage the effects of high sugar levels. 

If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, please feel free to call our Hackensack, NJ optometry office today. 

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