Diabetes And Your Eyes


Diabetes affects your eyes in subtle ways. You may not realize that you have a problem until you suddenly develop severe eyesight issues. Frequent diabetic eye exams by your vision center are needed to stay ahead of this damaging disease. Here is what you need to know about how diabetes affects your eyes and how to keep it from stealing your vision.

Damage to Blood Vessels is the Problem

Diabetes causes the blood vessels in your eyes to become weak. Normal blood vessels are flexible and expand and contract as the blood pulses through them. Some of these weakened blood vessels become rigid and contract, which causes a rise in the blood pressure in your eye. Other blood vessels expand with the blood in them and allow the blood to pool instead of moving through. Both of these weakened blood vessels contribute to your eyesight issues.

Diabetic Retinopathy

The damage to your eyes shows up in one of two ways. Called diabetic retinopathy, the damage can quickly cause you to lose all or part of your vision.

  • Nonproliferative retinopathy - In this version of the disease, the weak blood vessels allow fluid to leak out onto the surface of the retina. As the fluid builds up on the retina, it blocks the amount of light that hits this portion of your eye. At first, your vision becomes blurry. As the disease progresses, you'll develop dark patches in your eyesight.  The disease can progress until most of your visual field is obscured by the leaking fluid.
  • Proliferative retinopathy - New blood vessels begin to grow over the retina that are smaller and weaker than healthy vessels. These blood vessels create scar tissue, which becomes tight on the surface of the retina. When enough scar tissue has developed, it can slowly pull the retina away from the back of your eye. This stops the retina from sending signals to your brain, resulting in blindness.

Gradual Symptoms Sneak Up on You

You may begin to have subtle problems with your eyesight that get worse unless you see your eye doctor for treatment. Some of the common symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • inability to focus on objects
  • tiny gray patches in your vision
  • floaters that move across your vision
  • feeling of pressure in your eyes
  • easily tiring eyes

Treatment Options

This eye condition cannot be cured, but the loss of vision can be slowed down or stopped. The sooner treatment is started, the more effective the treatment will be at preventing vision loss. Some of the treatments available to you include:

  • Laser surgery - This is used to dry up the leaked fluid on the surface of the retina.
  • Pressure release - A portion of the gel within your eyeball is removed to reduce the pressure in your eyes.
  • Control of blood vessels - Medications can be used to limit the growth of the new, weaker blood vessels in your eye.

While these treatments can help prevent future vision loss, they cannot restore vision that has already been damaged. Regular diabetic eye exams at a vision center like Charles Richards A OD will help to catch any eye damage before you experience any symptoms.


11 November 2015

A New You

Growing up, one of my best friends was also my cousin. This special cousin and I shared something in common. We both had fiery red hair. When we were kids, many people thought we were sisters when they saw us together. Sadly, my cousin was born with crossed eyes, and because of her condition, she was often ridiculed by the other kids at school. As we grew older we began researching modern ways to correct her problem. Together we found the perfect solution. If you were born with crossed eyes, don’t despair. You do have hope. On this blog, you will discover the latest treatments optometrists use to help cure a patient’s crossed eyes.