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Diabetes not only increases your risk of kidney and heart disease but can also affect your vision. Diabetic retinopathy, one of the most common eye conditions experienced by people who have diabetes, can cause permanent damage to your eyesight. Learning more about diabetic retinopathy and other conditions that may affect your vision can help you recognize symptoms and ensure that you receive prompt treatment.
How Does Diabetes Affect Vision?
When your diabetes isn't properly controlled, you may develop one or more of these eye issues:
What Are the Signs of Vision Problems Caused by Diabetes?
If you experience vision problems related to diabetes, you may notice:
How Are Diabetes-Related Eye Diseases and Conditions Diagnosed Treated?
If you have diabetes, you may not be aware that you have an eye disease or condition until significant damage has occurred. Yearly visits to the optometrist may reveal issues, allowing you to obtain treatment before your eyesight is permanently damaged. Before your exam, drops will be placed in your eyes to dilate your pupils. Once your pupils are dilated, your optometrist will have a better view of your retina and can spot leaking blood vessels and other changes in your eyes.
Treatment for diabetic eye conditions depends on the type and severity. If you have diabetic retinopathy or macular edema, you may benefit from laser treatment to stop blood vessels leakage. Medications injected into your eye are often used to stop new vessels from forming. When leaking blood vessels affect the vitreous, the gel-like substance that gives your eye its shapes, vitrectomy, a procedure that removes the bloody vitreous, may improve your vision.
How Can I Reduce My Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy and Other Conditions?
The easiest way to avoid vision problems caused by diabetes is to keep your blood glucose level under control. Taking your medication as directed, eating a healthy diet, keeping your weight under control and avoiding smoking are very important factors in controlling the disease. In addition to lifestyle changes, yearly visits to the optometrist can help you ensure that vision problems are diagnosed before they cause significant damage to your vision.
Has it been a while since you saw an optometrist? Call our office today to schedule your next appointment.
Glaucoma Research Foundation: Diabetes and Your Eyesight, 8/1/16
American Diabetes Association: Eye Care, 4/7/15
Joslin Diabetes Center: 5 Tips for Preserving Your Vision
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Diabetic Eye Disease
American Optometric Association: Diabetic Retinopathy
Fred Farias III, OD, FAAO
Dr. Fred Farias III is certified as a therapeutic optometrist and an optometric glaucoma specialist. He has been in private practice in McAllen, Texas for over 30 years and has received the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Small Business of The Year Award. Dr. Farias earned Fellowship in American Academy of Optometry and is currently the only optometrist in the Rio Grande Valley to hold this distinction.
He has served as President of The Texas Optometric Association in 2014-2015. Dr. Farias was appointed by the Governor to the Texas State Board of Optometry and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
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