Having too much glucose in the blood for extended periods of time can cause you to have problems along with your diabetes symptoms. High blood glucose levels may damage the blood vessels, eyes, heart and kidneys, which could later lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Diabetic Retinopathy & Blindness
Damage to the retina happens slowly. The retina contains tiny blood vessels, and if you have high blood sugar or high blood pressure it becomes difficult for the vessels to have adequate blood flow. This causes the vessels to swell and become weak or not even allow for blood flow to the eye, which later causes more problems such as retinal detachment.
Over the years diabetic retinopathy has been the most frequent cause of blindness for people between the ages of 20-74. When diabetes was becoming prevalent especially in the first 20 years of its beginning, almost all patients with Type 1 and more than 60% with Type 2 were diagnosed with this disease. Diabetic retinopathy may progress from mild non-proliferative abnormalities to moderate or severe non-proliferative abnormalities. Things such as blood glucose control, cataract surgery, hypertension, pregnancy and puberty may contribute to the severity of this problem. The loss of vision due to diabetic retinopathy can come from an impaired macular edema or capillary non-perfusion to retinal detachment because of new blood vessels forming. Also, because of new blood vessels forming there could be vitreous hemorrhage. Not only could these things cause blindness, but neovascular glaucoma could occur as well.
Blurred or double vision, flashing lights, blank, dark or floating spots, rings, pain or pressure in both eyes or having trouble seeing peripherally are signs of eye problems that you should be aware of when you have diabetes.
How Can You Help to Prevent Eye Problems Associated With Diabetes?
-Have an eye exam once a year even if you do not have vision problems. The doctor needs to dilate your eyes, so he can see in the back of eye to check for abnormalities. You will also want to be tested for glaucoma and cataracts.
-Take proper precautions to make sure your blood glucose levels remain stabilized. Follow the regimen that your doctor has prescribed for you. Everyone requires different things to maintain their diabetes.
-Do not smoke!
-If you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant, have an eye exam before and within the first three months of pregnancy.
Joe K. writes about diabetes-related topics like Diabetic Retinopathy and hypoglycemia treatment.