When you are a diabetic, you’re at a higher risk of developing vision-related conditions. Diabetes is a known factor in many vision problems, some of which can lead to blindness. It’s important to note that for the majority of diabetics, especially those who see their doctors regularly and check their vision regularly, vision-related problems for diabetics are usually nothing more than minor issues. For diabetics who develop major vision problems, the prognosis is much better when treatment is immediately sought out. If you have vision problems because of your diabetes, you could have diabetic retinopathy. Keep reading to learn more about common vision problems for diabetics and diabetic retinopathy from Stahl Eyecare Experts!
The most common of diabetic retinopathy is known as non-proliferative retinopathy. Non-proliferative retinopathy occurs because high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels that are in the retina. There are three stages of non-proliferative retinopathy, including mild, moderate, and severe. As blood sugar levels rise, you will go through one of the three stages of non-proliferative retinopathy. Without proper treatment, non-proliferative retinopathy will steal your sight.
Diabetic retinopathy can progress over the years to the more severe form known as proliferative retinopathy. At this stage, blood vessels in the back of the eye are no longer just blocked, they are essentially closed off. The retina will try to grow new blood vessels at this point, but they will be weak, may leak blood, and can block vision. This condition is called a vitreous hemorrhage.
Scar tissue will grow and shrink and can pull the retina out of place. This condition is called retinal detachment and is an urgent medical emergency. If proliferative diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, you could lose both your peripheral and central vision.
If you are a diabetic, your chances of developing glaucoma increase by as much as 40 percent! It’s also important to note that your risk of developing glaucoma rises as you get older, and is related to how long you have been a diabetic. If you’ve been diabetic for 10 years, you have a higher risk of developing glaucoma than someone who was recently diagnosed as diabetic a year ago. Glaucoma develops when the pressure in your eyes increases to above normal levels, resulting in the aqueous humor of the eye becoming blocked. When intraocular pressure increases, blood vessels carrying blood to the retina and optic nerve get pinched, resulting in damage. If left untreated, glaucoma will cause total and permanent loss of vision.
Cataracts affect both those who have diabetes and those that don’t, but diabetics have a 60 percent increased risk of developing cataracts. When you have cataracts, the naturally clear lens of the eye becomes clouded, leading to a reduction in sight. If you are a diabetic, you are more likely to develop cataracts earlier. For those with mild cataracts, they can be treated using anti-glare lenses in your prescription eyeglasses. If you have severe cataracts, you’ll require cataract surgery to remove the clouded lens, and have it replaced with a clear artificial lens, called an IOL.
Treatment Options For Diabetic Vision Problems
With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts can lead to a halt in the degradation of vision. To avoid developing vision problems, diabetics need to keep their blood pressure levels under control. Keeping blood pressure under control and following a healthy lifestyle can make all the difference.
Have additional questions about diabetic vision problems or suspect you may have diabetic retinopathy? Make sure to schedule a consultation with your eye doctor at Stahl Eyecare Experts today!