The Link Between Diabetes and Vision Problems

You might not automatically associate eye problems and diabetes — not too surprising, considering diabetes is primarily a hormone-related (insulin) disorder and you don’t often hear about hormones affecting eyesight. 

However, when left untreated, diabetes can lead to a variety of complications that seem totally unrelated. Nerve damage, open sores, kidney damage, and even amputation are a few examples. 

Retinopathy, a long-term complication of diabetes, involves damage to blood vessels in the eyes and can lead to blindness. The expert ophthalmologists at Paragon Eye Associates in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, have treated many patients with diabetic retinopathy and are eager to educate people with diabetes before it’s too late. 

How does diabetes cause eye problems?

Diabetic retinopathy, sometimes simply referred to as diabetic eye disease, develops when blood sugar levels elevate and remain too high. Chronically high blood sugar, which is what ultimately causes diabetes, can damage the blood vessels in your retina — the part of your eye that sends visual signals to your brain.

When the blood vessels within your retina become damaged, they can leak fluid and warp your vision. Because of your retina’s crucial role in eyesight, damage can cause permanent blindness.  

Who can get diabetic retinopathy?

Anyone with any form of diabetes is at risk for diabetic retinopathy if they don’t manage their diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, the more your risk for retinopathy increases. 

How to prevent and treat diabetic eye disease

Diabetic retinopathy is a serious condition, but take note that you can prevent it by managing your diabetes. Diabetes management involves eating a healthy diet with limited sugar, exercising regularly, keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control, quitting smoking if you smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes, regularly checking your blood sugar levels, and taking your diabetes medicine as directed. 

If you’re in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, your ophthalmologist will probably just keep close tabs on how your eyes and vision are doing. You may need a dilated eye exam every few months to make sure you aren’t progressing toward more serious stages of retinopathy. 

If you’re already experiencing the later stages of diabetic retinopathy, there’s no way to restore lost vision, but proper treatment and management can prevent your vision from further worsening. 

If you think you have diabetic retinopathy, visit Paragon Eye Associates as soon as possible. Schedule your appointment by calling our Arlington location at 817-631-9824 or the Mansfield office at 817-662-7979. You can also send the team a message here on our website.

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