Do You Have Diabetes? You Need to Care for Your Eyes

eye-exam-1Age isn’t the only thing that can cause your eyesight to diminish. Diabetes is actually the primary cause of blindness in adults ages 20 to 74, and it also creates problems like blurry vision and cataracts. If you have diabetes, or are beginning to notice the warning signs of diabetes, you need to remember to care for your eyes as well.

The Diabetes Risk

Diabetes is a metabolic disease of the body that causes an inability to produce any or enough insulin. Since insulin is a hormone critical to glucose regulation in the blood, diabetes leads to imbalanced blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar level impacts your overall health in many different ways, including in your eyes. When your blood sugar is too high, it creates strain on the anatomy of your eye and can instigate blurry vision, cataracts, and more.

Unfortunately, many people with diabetes don’t realize this dangerous connection. A recent study found that 58 percent of diabetes patients do not seek regular eye exams, and since one in ten Americans have diabetes, that’s an enormous number of people risking vision loss.

Blurry Vision

A person without diabetes can solve blurry vision with glasses or contacts, if you have diabetes, you need to get your blood sugar under control before you can regain normal vision. This is because high blood sugar can cause your eye lens to swell and alter your ability to see. Your blood sugar should remain within a target range of 70-130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL in the two hours following meals. It might take up to three months after regaining control of your blood sugar to determine the true condition of your eyesight.

Cataracts

Since the lens of your eye allows you to see and focus, just like a camera, your vision becomes very poor when the lens is clouded with debris. High blood sugar can trigger this clouding, called a cataract, so you are more likely to develop the condition earlier than people without diabetes. While cataract surgery is very standard now, it’s better to care for your health and avoid the need for surgery altogether.

As a diabetic, just one eye exam per year, along with efforts to control your blood sugar, can make all the difference in your vision health.