How Diabetes Affects Your Vision

shutterstock_65134006 (1)Diabetes is a common medical condition that many people have. When left unmanaged and uncontrolled, it complicates and affects various parts of the body – including the eyes. Here at our Maui eye care practice, we encourage diabetic patients to undergo diabetic eye exams to see if their condition has already affected their vision and to create a customized treatment plan based on the results.

The Involvement of the Retina

The retina is the primary part of the eye that is usually affected by diabetes. The retina’s function is likened to a camera film. Once the film becomes faulty, captured pictures become blurry as well. This is the type of image we see when the retina swells, wrinkles, or is significantly damaged in structure. Any change in vision will depend upon the extent of the damage in the retina as well as the type of damage and its location.

The Role of Diabetes

Individuals who are suffering from diabetes have blood sugar abnormalities that extend even to the small blood vessels in the retina. What were once small blood vessels tend to “balloon” in the area because of an increase in blood sugar levels. Known as microaneurysms, the vessels can burst and leak fluid into the retina. Once the fluid accumulates in the retina’s central part, known as the macula, the part may swell. The swelling of the macula is known as diabetic macular edema, a common complication of diabetes.

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: What Is It?

Because there is less oxygen delivered into the retina, new blood vessels may start growing. This is called proliferative diabetic retinopathy. These new blood vessels tend to be extremely fragile and leaky, which could lead to bleeding inside the eye and result to severe loss of vision. When left untreated, vision loss can be permanent.

Diabetic Eye Exams in Maui

If you have diabetes, you need to have regular diabetic eye exams. Call us today at (808) 877-3984 for our Wailuku office or (808) 442-3058 for our Kihei office to schedule your diabetic eye exam and learn how to take care of your eyes even with diabetes. You may also fill out this online contact form to request an appointment with one of our eye experts here at Aloha Eye Clinic.

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