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Preserving Vision: A Guide to Eye Health and Diabetes

by IBD Medical on February 25, 2024

Diabetes can affect various parts of the body, including the eyes. Prioritising eye health is essential for individuals managing diabetes to prevent complications and maintain optimal vision. In this article, we will explore the importance of eye health, delve into diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, discuss symptoms, and provide insights into caring for your eyes.

Eye Health: A Window to Overall Well-Being: Our eyes play a crucial role in our daily lives, and maintaining eye health is vital for overall well-being. Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing eye-related complications, making regular eye check-ups and proactive care essential.

Diabetic Retinopathy: Understanding the Risk: Diabetic retinopathy is a common
complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels in the retina. Prolonged high blood sugar levels can cause these blood vessels to weaken, leak, or grow irregularly, potentially leading to vision impairment or blindness if left untreated.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy: Early stages of diabetic retinopathy may not exhibit noticeable symptoms. However, as the condition progresses, individuals may experience:

  • Blurred, distorted or patchy vision that can’t be corrected with prescription glasses
  • Problems with balance, reading, watching television and recognising people
  • Being overly sensitive to glare
  • Difficulty seeing at night

If you notice any changes in your vision contact your doctor.

Just a single day of elevated blood sugars has the potential to impact the eyes, resulting in issues like blurry vision. Experiencing high blood sugars for less than a year could potentially lead to lasting and permanent damage.

Double Vision and Glaucoma: Other Vision Complications: Diabetes can also contribute to other eye issues, including double vision and glaucoma. Double vision may occur due to nerve damage affecting eye muscle control. Glaucoma, characterised by increased pressure within the eye, can lead to optic nerve damage and vision loss.

Looking After Your Eyes: Proactive Measures:

  • Regular Eye Check-ups: Routine eye examinations are crucial for detecting issues early. Individuals with diabetes should have comprehensive eye exams at least once a year.
  • Blood Sugar Control: Maintaining stable blood sugar levels helps prevent complications related to diabetic retinopathy.
  • Blood Pressure Management: Controlling blood pressure reduces the risk of eye- related complications.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Adopting a balanced diet, staying physically active, and avoiding smoking contribute to overall eye health.

Who Can Test Your Eyes? Optometrists and ophthalmologists are trained professionals who can conduct eye examinations. Optometrists typically perform routine eye tests, prescribe glasses or contact lenses, and detect common eye conditions. Ophthalmologists, on the other hand, are medical doctors specialising in eye care, capable of diagnosing and treating a wide range of eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy.

Prioritising eye health is a crucial aspect of diabetes management. Regular eye check-ups, proactive measures to control blood sugar and blood pressure, and a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of vision complications. Early detection and intervention are key to preserving vision and ensuring a high quality of life for individuals managing diabetes. Regular collaboration with eye care professionals is essential for comprehensive eye health management.


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If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 (in the US) or 000 (in Australia) immediately, call your doctor, or go to the emergency room/urgent care. 
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