Diabetes is a systemic disease that affects your entire body and can increase your risk of eye problems and complications. Diabetes may impact your sight, and the expert eye doctors at Optometrists of Lansing can help.
How Does Diabetes Affect My Eyes?
Not only can diabetes cause or aggravate nearsightedness, farsightedness, blurry vision, and strabismus, diabetes can also cause eye diseases such as:
- Retinopathy: Weakening and possible leaking of blood vessels in the retina. Retinopathy causes new blood vessels to grow in your eye and other changes. In the early stages of retinopathy, there are no symptoms. This is why it is essential to have your eyes checked on a regular basis. Retinopathy is one of the top causes of blindness in the U.S and is a primary concern for individuals with diabetes.
- Cataracts: Clouding of the eye’s lens. Those with diabetes have a 60 percent higher chance of developing cataracts.
- Glaucoma: Elevated eye pressure. Glaucoma will cause vision loss or blindness if left untreated.
What Can I Do to Protect My Eyes From Diabetes?
If you want to protect your eyes and body from diabetes, maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means staying at a healthy weight, as well as keeping your blood sugar levels under control. Your primary care physician can create a treatment plan for you or refer you to a dietician. A dietician can help guide you in making healthier choices.
Other important things to do to keep your eyes healthy include:
- Having yearly eye exams. Annual eye exams catch problems while they are still minor and easy to treat. Optometrists can even detect conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and multiple sclerosis. You may need to have eye checkups more frequently if you have existing eye issues.
- Asking your doctor to send your exam results to your primary care physician. Also, keep a record of these results for yourself.
- Quitting smoking if you smoke.
- Exercising regularly.
- Visiting your eye doctor right away if you notice any changes in your vision.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Eye Problems Caused by Diabetes?
The experts at Optometrists of Lansing use a high-tech Optomap retinal eye exam. This captures digital images of your retina in a non-invasive manner. Compared with a dilated eye exam, Optomap lets professionals see almost four and a half times more of the retina at once in more detail. This helps catch and treat eye diseases early.
The exam also only takes a few minutes, where dilated exams need at least 45 minutes. The results are also immediately available to be reviewed with you.
To diagnose eye diseases, doctors will measure your eye pressure and test your vision. Depending on your medical history, our eye doctors may also suggest other tests, including an optical coherence tomography (OCT) for images of your eyes.
How Will My Eye Doctor Treat Diabetic Eye Diseases?
Your treatment options will depend on your specific condition. In almost all cases, your optometrist will recommend managing your diabetes. They will also recommend you have more than one eye exam per year.
Some treatment choices your eye doctor may recommend include:
- Cataract lens surgery
- Laser treatment
- Anti-VEGF eye injections if you have abnormal eye vessels growing. They also help decrease swelling.
What Can I Do if I’m Already Experiencing Diabetic Vision Loss?
Vision loss does not have to get in the way of leading an active life. At Optometrists of Lansing, we offer low vision rehabilitation. Our trained eye care professionals can suggest low vision aids to help you see better and educate you on how to make the most of your remaining eyesight.