Diabetes is a disease that makes it difficult for the body to produce and regulate insulin. Insulin helps control the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Drastic spikes or drops in blood sugar levels can cause significant damage to the organs, blood vessels, and nerves.
High blood sugar on its own likely won’t cause vision loss, but it may cause blurry vision due to fluctuating fluid levels in the eyes. Additionally, high blood sugar can cause the tissues of the eyes to swell, which may cause blurred vision. However, these symptoms usually disappear when blood sugar levels return to normal.
Risks of Uncontrolled Diabetes
If your blood sugar levels stay high for an extended amount of time, it can negatively affect the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Damaged blood vessels can swell and leak, causing blood to seep into the vitreous, blocking vision. New, abnormal blood vessels can also grow, which may lead to scarring and high blood pressure.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye problems that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include:
The best way to keep your eyes healthy is to manage your diabetes with help from your doctor. Monitoring your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol are good places to start, alongside quitting smoking.
In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels in the eye begin to weaken, swell, and leak into the retina. This stage can create dark spots in your vision.
As the disease progresses to a stage called proliferative diabetic retinopathy, new blood vessels begin to grow (or proliferate) on the surface of the retina. This stage can lead to severe vision problems and may even cause blindness.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:
Dark spots in your vision
Impaired colour vision
Macular edema occurs when there is a buildup of fluid in the central most part of the retina, called the macula. The fluid buildup causes the macula to swell, distorting vision.
Macular edema may occur as a result of diabetic retinopathy when damaged blood vessels create abnormal leakage and accumulation of fluid in the retina. Macular edema may also occur as a result of eye surgery or from related inflammatory diseases.
Symptoms of macular edema include:
Blurred or wavy vision
Colours appear faded or washed out
Treatment for Diabetic Eye Disease
Optos is a form of ultra-widefield retinal imaging to capture a broad view of the retina. This technology incorporates low-powered lasers that scan while simultaneously producing a high-resolution image of the eye.
These images help us to detect and diagnose abnormalities in the retina.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an imaging technology that produces high-resolution cross-section photos of the retina. This view of the retina allows us to pinpoint certain retinal diseases and conditions as we can see the retina’s layers and thickness.
MPOD testing is a noninvasive scan that takes approximately 2 to 4 minutes. Based on your results, we can make recommendations to improve your macular pigment through supplements or dietary changes.
Please contact us if you have any questions, we’re happy to help!
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