The body needs sugar for energy but it also needs the hormone insulin to break down and deliver the sugar to the cells all throughout your body.
When your blood sugar levels go too high, your body gets in a state of hyperglycemia. This negatively affects many parts of the body, including your eyesight.
Blurred vision is often one of the earliest signs of diabetes. The blurry eyesight is caused by the leaking fluids in the lens of your eyes. This makes the lens swell up and change its shape, making it hard for your eyes to determine a focal point.
This is when the blood vessels leak into the center of the eyes and causes blurry visions. This is also characterized by experiencing eye spots or floaters. You may also experience some problem seeing at night.
Macula is the part of your eyes that gives you the sharpness of your vision. Macular edema is when the macula swells up due to the leaking fluids from your lens. Other symptoms include color shifts and wavy vision.
Glaucoma is a disease in which the optic nerve gets damaged due to the pressure in your eyes. Blurry vision is also a symptom of this condition. The National Eye Institute also says that the risk of glaucoma doubles for adults who are suffering from diabetes.
In this article, we will be focusing more on proliferative retinopathy.
Diabetes causes changes in the small blood vessels that nourish your eyes. In the early stages of retinopathy, the arteries in the retina starts to weaken and leak out. This forms dot-like hemorrhages and can often lead to swelling and decreased vision. About one out of four diabetics experience this problem.
As retinopathy progresses, the circulation in the blood vessels decreases. This deprives your eyes, particularly the retina the oxygen it needs. Eventually, the blood vessels become blocked or closed, and parts of the retina die.
New but abnormal blood vessels will grow to replace the old ones. But the new blood vessels tend to grow along the surface of the vitreous, a space in the eyeball that is filled with transparent gel.
Unfortunately, these vessels are delicate and can easily hemorrhage. Just like the last time, fluids may leak into the retina and vitreous causing more spots and decrease the quality of your vision. This is now proliferative retinopathy and it affects about one in twenty diabetics.
In the later phases, abnormal blood vessels will continue to grow and rupture, causing more scar tissues and eventually lead to retinal detachment and glaucoma.
Early stages do not show any symptoms. This is why it is important that you take regular eye checkups if you are diabetic. But for a more progressed retinopathy the symptoms include the following:
- Sudden vision loss
- Light flashes in the field of vision
- Blotches or spots constructing the eyesight
- Blurry vision
For the early stages of retinopathy, there are no treatments needed unless macular edema is present. But the recommended treatments for proliferative retinopathy is laser therapy. This helps shrink down the abnormal vessels that grew due to the high glucose levels in your blood.
The treatment often works better before the new and fragile blood vessels start to bleed. But if bleeding has already started, you can still get some treatment for it.
Vitrectomy is another process that helps give you back your eyesight. It is a procedure wherein blood is removed from the center of the eyes and gets replaced by saline solution.
See Your Doctor
If you are diabetic, this only means that you are at a high risk for a variety of eye problems. It is therefore crucial that you see your doctor and ask if you need an eye exam. Be sure that you inform your doctor about your health symptoms and the medications you are currently taking for it.
Blurred vision can usually be fixed by eye drops. But if the problem comes back, it can be an indicative of a more serious eye problem. It could perhaps be an underlying condition caused by diabetes.