When the body’s metabolic system loses its ability to adequately produce and use insulin, a number of disruptive symptoms occurs. The misuse of insulin means that the body is unable to metabolize sugar appropriately. We refer to this as diabetes, and physicians across all fields of medicine are cognizant of the extensive damage this chronic health condition can do.
Several health conditions may develop secondary to diabetes, including those that affect the eyes. The presence of too much blood glucose, or sugar in the blood, is especially concerning for those interested in long-term eye health and vision. Several of the most concerning diseases of the eye can be associated with diabetes. These include:
- This eye disease involves pressure within the eye which could damage the optic nerve. Individuals with diabetes tend to have increased intraocular pressure, which could lead to glares and halos, redness and pain, and also to vision loss.
- Macular edema. This is a kind of diabetic retinopathy in which the macula, responsible for central vision, swells. Swelling of the macula opens the door for fluid to leak onto the surface of the eye, causing blurriness.
- Proliferative retinopathy. A common diabetic eye disease, proliferative retinopathy causes vision to blur when blood vessels in the eye leak blood. Spots and floaters are also common indications of proliferative retinopathy in diabetics.
- This vision-diminishing condition occurs when proteins accumulate on the lens of the eye, causing vision to cloud and blur. When this clouding inhibits normal daily activities, the natural lens may be replaced with an appropriate artificial lens.
The presence of blurry vision alone is not necessarily an indicator that a person also has diabetes. Vision may become blurred as a symptom of eye inflammation or infection, nearsightedness, dry eye syndrome, low blood pressure, or even from certain medications. A very common cause of temporary blurred vision is digital eye strain.
When to See your Eye Doctor
Annual eye exams are crucial for people with diabetes. In addition to these routine, yearly eye exams, patients should also report any changes to their vision to their eye doctor right away.
Contact us in Wailuku or Kihei to schedule your eye exam.