It's important for people with diabetes to see an eye specialist once a year to check for eye complications that diabetes can cause. High blood sugar, as well as high blood pressure, can damage your eyes in several ways. It can hurt your retina, the vitreous (a jelly-like fluid that fills the back of the eye), the lens, and the optic nerve, which sends vision signals to your brain. Your retinas have tiny blood vessels, and having high blood sugar over a long period of time can damage these sensitive vessels. Regular visits to an eye care professional can pick up early signs of these complications when they are most treatable.
Diabetic Retinopathy (Eye Damage)
1 AnswerIf you are an adult, have a thorough eye exam at the time of diabetes diagnosis and yearly thereafter.
If you are over 10 and have had diabetes for at least 3 years, you also need a comprehensive exam once a year.
• After the initial exam, see an eye doctor familiar with retinopathy and other diabetes complications of the eyes once a year for a dilated exam.
• Call your diabetes care provider if you notice changes in your vision, but don’t panic. Highs and lows in your blood glucose level may cause temporary blurring in your vision.
• Keep your blood glucose levels close to normal. You will help prevent damage to the small blood vessels that run through your retina.
• Have regular blood pressure checks, and work to keep your blood pressure on target.
• Discuss your exercise program with your eye doctor. Some activities can raise the pressure inside your eyes and lead to bleeding in the retina.
• If you have retinopathy, avoid taking birth control pills because they may affect the clotting of your blood or increase your blood pressure.
• Get early treatment for eye problems! Early intervention, such as laser treatment for retinopathy, cuts the risk of blindness by 90 percent.
1 AnswerFor adults with type 1 diabetes: You need to have a dilated eye exam within five years of being diagnosed and every year after that.
For adults with type 2 diabetes: You need to have a dilated exam soon after you have found out you have diabetes. About 1 in 5 people with type 2 diabetes have some eye problems when they find out they have diabetes. That's why it's important to have an eye exam soon after you find out you have diabetes.
After the first eye exam, all adults with diabetes need a dilated eye exam every year. Exams may be needed more often if you have eye problems.
1 AnswerThe following are guidelines for dilated eye exams if you have diabetes:
- If you are between 10 and 29 years old and have had diabetes for at least 5 years, you should have an annual dilated eye exam.
- If you are 30 or older, you should have an annual dilated eye exam, no matter how short a time you have had diabetes. More frequent exams may be needed if you have eye disease.
- If you have any changes in your vision.
- You should have a dilated eye exam if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.
1 AnswerIf you have diabetes, see your eye care professional if:
- Your vision becomes blurry
- You have trouble reading signs or books
- You see double
- One or both of your eyes hurt
- Your eyes get red and stay that way
- You feel pressure in your eye
- You see spots or floaters
- Straight lines do not look straight
- You can't see things at the side as you used to
1 AnswerHealthy Humans answeredThe eye examination consists of multiple parts, many of which are quantifiable. When vision is tested, it is useful for documenting eye health status and any changes. Vision is usually tested,one eye at a time, for distance and for near. Often it is done without glasses (prescription) and then repeated with glasses. If a patient doesn't have glasses or has reduced vision, a pin?hole device can be used as an estimate of the best potential visual acuity. The next step in an eye exam is utilizing lenses in order to establish best?corrected visual acuity. For instance, you cannot really decide how bad a cataract is without knowing the individual best correction.
The external eye exam consists of the evaluating pupil reactions, eye muscle movements, lids, and color of the iris. The next part of the exam employs a microscopic instrument called slit lamp. By varying the size beam and the magnification, the eye doctor can stereoscopically view the insides of the eye and diagnose almost all ocular conditions. This is why individuals need to see an ophthalmologist or optometrist in order to diagnose any serious eye problem. The intraocular pressure is measured at this time; this is an important test as part of the evaluation of glaucoma. Primary care doctors and emergency room physicians are usually able to recognize and treat pink eye and other common eye conditions but are unable to get a good look inside the eye without more testing.
Usually the final part of the eye exam is an evaluation of the retina with either a hand held or head mounted light and lenses. Many systemic conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, which can affect the eye can be identified through a slit lamp and retina exam. There are other tests that are useful to measure and manage eye disease such as the following: visual fields,color vision, prism measurements of eye deviations, tear tests for dry eyes, and checker board grids for macular degeneration.
4 AnswersIf nonproliferative retinopathy has led to macular edema (swelling of the retina), laser photocoagulation, a type of surgery that uses an intense beam of light, is used to burn and seal the leaking blood vessels and decrease tissue swelling, thereby decreasing the likelihood of further vision deterioration.
For proliferative retinopathy, laser surgery known as panretinal photocoagulation, which uses a scattered laser, is used to stop the growth of new blood vessels, thereby decreasing the likelihood of serious side effects including vitreous hemorrhage and retinal detachment.
Vitrectomy is a surgical treatment that can help restore vision by removing a vitreous hemorrhage or repairing retinal detachment.
Several new treatments are also being evaluated to determine if they curb progression of retinopathy or decrease vision loss associated with it. These treatments include oral medications for nonproliferative disease and intraocular injections of anti-inflammatory medications (steroids) for macular edema.
1 AnswerRiverside Health System answeredYou can get cataracts and glaucoma if you have diabetes. People without diabetes can get these eye problems, too. But people with diabetes get these problems more often and at a younger age.
• A cataract is a cloud over the lens of your eye-the lens is usually clear and focuses light onto the retina. A cataract makes everything you look at seem cloudy. You need surgery to remove the cataract. During surgery your lens is taken out and a plastic lens, like a contact lens, is put in. The plastic lens stays in your eye all the time. Cataract surgery helps you see clearly again.
• Glaucoma starts with the building up of pressure in the eye. Over time, this pressure damages your eye's main nerve-the optic nerve. The damage first causes you to lose sight from the sides of your eyes. Treating glaucoma is usually simple. Your eye care professional will give you special drops to use every day to lower the pressure in your eyes. Or, your eye care professional may want you to have laser surgery.
This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
3 AnswersStacy Wiegman, PharmD , Pharmacy, answeredDiabetes can cause eye problems. Pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes could be a sign of damage to your retinas. Blurry or double vision, dark spots or blank areas and trouble seeing out of the corners of your eyes are other symptoms to watch for. The high blood sugar associated with diabetes, sometimes coupled with high blood pressure, can cause the tiny blood vessels of the eyes to swell and weaken, and possibly leak blood into the vitreous (the gel-like fluid within the eye). This can keep light from reaching the retina. Those damaged blood vessels may also develop scar tissue that could eventually pull the retina away from the back of the eye, a potentially dangerous problem called retinal detachment. You can minimize your risks of eye problems by keeping your diabetes under control. Getting regular eye exams can help you catch problems before they become too serious. Report any unusual eye symptoms to your doctor.
1 AnswerBackground retinopathy is a type of damage to the retina of the eye, marked by bleeding, fluid accumulation, and abnormal dilation of the blood vessels. Background retinopathy is an early stage of diabetic retinopathy. It is also called simple or nonproliferative retinopathy.