Can Diabetes Make You Blind? Do These to Protect Your Vision

Diabetic retinopathy can cause permanent loss of vision but only when you become ignorant about your eye health.

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Primarily, diabetes affects how your body utilizes glucose for energy generation. Nonetheless, it affects almost every other physiological function. In essence, diabetes does not spare any system in the body. Cataract and glaucoma are two common eye conditions seen in diabetics. In some patients, these eye conditions can lead to irreversible vision loss.

No doubt, it’s sad news for those with diabetes. But, just like every problem with comes a solution, there are many ways to protect your vision.

In this article, you will learn how diabetes damages your eyes and what you can do to prevent blindness.

Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetes-induced Eye Damage

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) refers to diabetes-induced damages in the cells of the eyes. When you have uncontrolled blood glucose levels for a long time, the miniature blood vessels in the retina become damaged. Retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive tissues that processes the light reflected from an object and sends it to the brain. Then, the brain decides what the image is.

Mild DR does not cause blindness rather it impairs the vision. But when you fail to take control of it at this stage, new abnormal cells proliferate causing the loss of healthy cells in the retina. Unfortunately, for many patients, the damage is irreversible.

In a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, researchers found that 4$ of the participants with DR had blindness affecting both their eyes.

Can You Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy and Subsequent Blindness?

The primary reason why DR is diagnosed late is that many of the symptoms are too subtle to catch your attention. Even so, you may be able to detect some symptoms earlier provided you are a good observer of your body functions.

If you experience any of the following signs and symptoms, talk to your doctor right away.

  • Blurred vision.
  • Floating spots that may clear without any medication. Note that the spots can come back again.
  • Difficulty when looking at colored objects.
  • Dark areas in your vision.

Do These to Protect Your Vision from Diabetic Retinopathy

Early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by up to 95%.

  • Go for an eye check-up at least once a year if you have diabetes.
  • If you have already been diagnosed with DR, get more regular eye check-ups.
  • Diabetic women who get pregnant should meet an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
  • Quit smoking. If you cannot do it on your own, ask your doctor for a smoking cessation therapy.
  • Pay close attention to even minor changes in the vision.
  • Work to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“Diabetes should not rob you of your right to enjoy the beauty of everything around you”

References
  1. National Eye Institute (NEI). URL Link. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  2. American Journal of Ophthalmology. URL Link. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  3. Mayo Clinic. URL Link. Retrieved October 11, 2017.