While the eyesight can suffer through the normal aging process, diabetes is likely to increase complications and make matters worse when signs are left unattended. Most people with diabetes can develop some form of retinopathy (a retina disorder) during their lives.
Fortunately, problems can be controlled considerably with prompt diagnosis, medical intervention along with the preventive measures primarily focusing on blood sugar control. Ineffective blood sugar control, length of diabetes and genetic factors can largely affect the chances of developing an eyesight problem.
Major effects including complications of diabetes are discussed here under to give a fair idea of the same. The better aware you are the more pro-active and observant you can be.
Diabetes Can Affects Vision And Eyesight
When living with diabetes, the eyesight can be adversely affected particularly when blood glucose level remains uncontrolled. Excessive blood sugar can disturb the fluid content of the eye tissues and adversely affect the eye’s ability to focus. If not attended properly, new blood vessels can also form in the retina and cause damage to the existing ones. This may advance to cause vision loss or even blindness.
Glaucoma is a condition which can happen due to aging. But diabetes can increase the risk for glaucoma by about 40% and the more years you spend living with diabetes, the more can be the risk.
Usually, glaucoma is a result of pressure build up in the eye which cause harm to the blood vessels nourishing the retina and optic nerve. People are likely to lose vision slowly because of retina and nerve damage.
In cataracts, the eye cannot receive appropriate light due to clouding of the lens. Cataracts may essentially not be an outcome of diabetes and many people can have it even without having diabetes. Nonetheless, with diabetes the risk can increase by an alarming 60%. Furthermore, diabetes can cause cataracts early in life which can advance too fast.
In general, all disorders of the retina arising out of diabetes are categorized as diabetic retinopathy. Retinopathy can be non-proliferative and proliferative. In diabetes, there can be three main types of retinopathy namely background retinopathy, maculopathy and proliferative retinopathy. In background retinopathy, there can be damage to the blood vessel but no eyesight or vision problem.
It can be controlled and prevented from advancing further through carefully managing diabetes. In maculopathy, there can be considerable vision reduction owing to damage to the macula. The proliferative retinopathy can cause major changes in the eye by affecting the blood vessels. The fragile blood vessels can bleed; there can be scaring of the retina and permanent damage to vision.
The most common form of retinopathy, non-proliferative retinopathy, can damage blood vessels in stages – mild, moderate and severe. It usually does not destroy vision (in mild forms) but should be attended promptly.
People with type 1 diabetes will suffer from non-proliferative retinopathy. Most people with type 2 diabetes also get it.
Diabetic retinopathy which can destroy vision, or proliferative retinopathy, is not too common. When the retinopathy advances to cause serious harm to the eyes, the retina can be badly damaged. Unfortunately, both non-proliferative and proliferative retinopathy may not produce any signs. People having diabetes need regular eye testing and scrutiny to bring out an anomaly early for medical intervention.