Diabetes is a common condition, especially in people that are older. Type 2 diabetes is a danger many adults are wary of.
It’s important to see a regular doctor and get bloodwork done to diagnose diabetes or other conditions as you get older. But one side effect of diabetes you may not be aware of is eyesight problems.
While it’s true that diabetes is linked to several eye-related conditions and can even cause total visual loss, your eye doctor should not be the one diagnosing you with diabetes.
Diabetes and Eyesight
Diabetes occurs when your body has trouble creating insulin. This is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels or glucose.
In type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin or has trouble producing it fast enough. This leads to high blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar leads to a variety of physical symptoms. Diabetes, especially unregulated, wreaks havoc on your tissue and organs. Some of your body’s most prominent organs are your eyes.
Diabetes can cause tissue damage in your eyes. It also raises your risk for conditions like cataracts and glaucoma and can cause diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults 60 and older. This condition happens when the blood vessels in the retina become cut off from the rest of the body.
This makes them swell, leak, and develop abnormally. Abnormal blood vessel growth causes scarring. You may irreversibly damage the retina, causing vision loss and, if left untreated, become blind.
It’s important to see an eye doctor if you have diabetes to make sure your eyes are healthy. But a diabetes diagnosis has to come from a doctor, not your ophthalmologist.
When to See a Physician
If you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes but experience the symptoms of diabetes, see a doctor. These symptoms include:
● Frequent urination
● Sores that don’t heal
● Extreme hunger and thirst
● Blurry vision
The last symptom, blurry vision, is a visual symptom, but if it’s with other diabetes symptoms, you should see your doctor first. Depending on how serious your diabetes is, your doctor may refer you to an eye doctor to be diagnosed with a diabetic eye condition.
But the first step for treating diabetes is controlling your blood sugar. Your doctor can prescribe medication that will help with this and instruct you on how to keep your glucose under control.
Managing your diabetes is vital. It’s the only way to prevent further health issues and lower your risk for eye-related conditions.
When to See an Eye Doctor
If you have diabetes, you should see an eye doctor regularly to have your eyes examined. This will ensure that if you develop cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy, they can be spotted early and managed.
Unfortunately, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma often do not present symptoms until vision loss has already occurred. Because damage from these conditions is permanent, the only way to preserve your vision is to catch it early.
This will allow you to slow down the progression of the disease through treatment. While diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma have no cure, they can be effectively treated to save your vision for years to come.
Concerned about the health of your eyes? Schedule an appointment at the Nielsen Eye Center in Boston, MA!
Our Patient Advocates are standing by to answer your questions! Contact us by calling 617-471-5665 now! When it comes to your eyes, it never hurts to give them a little tender loving care.