What is Diabetic Eye Disease?
Diabetic Eye Disease is also known as Diabetic Retinopathy, this is when problems from diabetes cause damage to your eyes and vision. “Diabetic retinopathy is caused when high blood sugar damages blood vessels in the retina” (CDC). The higher levels of blood sugar can cause blood vessels to swell or leak and can cause damage to your vision. These can cause long term problems but can be prevented or treated.
- How long you have diabetes: Having Type I or Type II diabetes for longer periods of time will increase the chances of developing vision problems. The damage can start early if you have Prediabetes.
- Pregnancy: If you have diabetes during pregnancy (also known as gestational diabetes). This increases your chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes which from the previous point can make it more likely for you to develop Diabetic Eye Disease. (How Gestational Diabetes can impact pregnancy)
- Using tobacco and Increased blood sugar levels: Using tobacco can raise your blood pressure and add more strain on the blood vessels in your eyes. The increased amounts of blood sugar will also cause damage to those blood vessels and will increase the chances of developing Diabetic Eye Disease.
- Race/Ethnicity: Individuals who are Black, Hispanic, or Native American have a higher risk of developing vision problems related to diabetes (MayoClinic).
Diabetic Retinopathy is only one of many vision problems that can occur from diabetes. These are other vision issues that can be caused by diabetes.
Other Vision Problems Associated With Diabetes
- Cataracts: “A cataract is the clouding of the normally clear lens in your eye.”(CDC). People with diabetes are at higher risk of having cataracts at an early age because they will have more blood sugar which can cause damage to the blood vessels in the eyes and speed up the development of cataracts.
- Glaucoma:”Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve—the bundle of nerves that connects the eye to the brain.”(NIH). Those with diabetes are two times more likely to end up having glaucoma and with the most common type being open angle glaucoma.
Even if you have Diabetic Retinopathy or any of the other visions problems that can come along with it, there is no need to worry since it can be treated. Here are some ways it can be treated.
How Diabetic Eye Disease is treated
- VGEF Inhibitors: This is a medicine used in order to slow down or reverse problems from diabetic retinopathy
- Eye Injections: Eye injections can be used with laser treatment.
- Laser Therapy: This treatment builds scar tissue and will slow down the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
- Eye Surgery: This is used if it is too difficult to remove things with a laser.
- Vitrectomy: This removes tissue from the front part of the eye which can include blood, wrinkled scar tissue, or any other object in the front of the eye.
Fortunately there are many ways to prevent DIabetic Eye Disease early.
Preventing Diabetic Eye Disease Early
Managing your diabetes is very important in order to avoid any issues, here are some ways to manage it:
- Getting more exercise.
- Stopping any tobacco usage such as smoking, vaping, or using chewing tobacco.
- Having healthy blood pressure levels.
- Having healthy cholesterol levels.
- Making sure you have healthy blood sugar levels.
- Making sure to stay at a healthy weight.
- Make sure to seek help early on.
- Get an eye exam if you notice any changes in your vision. It is also important to be aware of any redness or pain in your eyes.
Diabetic Retinopathy and other eye issues can be avoided and treated if it is found early. Keeping your diabetes under control is also very important. Here are some healthy recipes to help get you started with managing your diabetes.
Healthy Recipes for diabetes management