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Can Diabetes Make You Lose Your Eyesight

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Common Causes Of Vision Loss

What Is Diabetes? | 2 Minute Guide | Diabetes UK

Johnstone M. Kim, MD, is board-certified in ophthalmology. He’s a practicing physician at Midwest Retina in Dublin, Ohio and previously served as a full-time faculty member at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit, Michigan.

The idea of losing your vision can be scary. After all, you rely on your vision every day. In the U.S., 32.2 million adults have experienced some sort of vision loss. Around the globe, there are an estimated 285 million people with vision impairment. Among those, 39 million are blind.

Some vision loss happens suddenly. Other times, it happens gradually. Partial blindness refers to limited vision, and complete blindness or blindness is when you cannot see anything, including light. Here is information on some of the most common causes of vision loss, including cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.

Verywell / Michela Buttignol

Managing Weight Loss With Diabetes

To manage weight loss with diabetes, you’ll first need to get your blood sugar under control. You’ll need to work together with your healthcare provider on a treatment plan toward this goal, which may involve different strategies depending on your disease.

Diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes work for some people with diabetes who aren’t taking medication. Many people with type 1 diabetesand some with type 2will need to take insulin or other drugs to ensure their blood sugar levels stay well-controlled.

Typically, once someone is treated for diabetes and their blood sugar normalizes, their weight loss will stabilize. It is critical to continue to monitor diabetes under a healthcare provider’s care at home because it is a lifelong condition.

Good News Yes Diabetic Retinopathy Can Be Reversed And Yes Diabetic Retinopathy Can Be Reversed With Diet

Overall the number 1 thing is to stick to diet.

Heres a famous one for you: Dr. Walter Kempners rice and fruit diet.

Kempners Rice Diet program began at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 1939. The treatment was a simple therapy of white rice, fruit, juice, and sugar, and was reserved for only the most seriously ill patients. Although low-tech, the benefits of the Rice Diet far exceed those of any drug or surgery ever prescribed for chronic conditions, like prediabetes and diabetes.

In addition to diet, DME can be treated with several therapies that may be used alone or in combination, including:

  • Anti-VEGF Injection Therapy

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How Can You Prevent Vision Loss From Diabetes

If you have diabetes, looking after your eyes with regular check-ups and healthy lifestyle choices is essential for preventing serious problems.


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Eye health is important for everyone. But for people with diabetes, the risk of eye disease and vision loss is much higher, making regular eye checks an essential part of your care plan.

Around one in three people with diabetes will develop some form of diabetic eye disease, most commonly diabetic retinopathy. The good news is that most diabetes-related vision loss can be prevented as long as its detected and treated early.

Unfortunately it is not uncommon for people to wait for their vision to be reduced before they present for a diabetes eye check, says Associate Professor Peter van Wijngaarden, a Principal Investigator and Deputy Director at CERA.

By that time the eye disease is often advanced and more difficult to manage. Early detection is the key to best outcomes.

Too many Australians are experiencing diabetes-related vision loss, because approximately half of those with diagnosed diabetes are not receiving eye examinations within the recommended timeframes.

How can diabetes affect your eyes?

In the short term, high blood glucose levels can cause blurred vision. This is due to temporary changes to the shape of the lens in your eye. When your blood glucose levels are stable again, your vision should return to normal.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetes

Diabetes and Your Eye Health

In the early stages, most people experience no signs of diabetes-related retinopathy. You may not experience vision changes until the condition is severe. For some people, symptoms come and go.

Symptoms of diabetes-related retinopathy include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision.
  • Poor night vision .
  • Small dark spots or streaks in your vision.
  • Trouble reading or seeing faraway objects.

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Control Your Blood Sugar

We all know that eating right is good for your health and wellbeing, but eating a balanced diet is critical maintaining your eyesight if you are diabetic.

If your blood sugars are too high, your eyesight will suffer. With simple blood sugar monitoring, you can learn how food will impact your blood sugar level . Talk with your personal doctor and educate yourself on steps to manage your blood sugar, which when applied will help prevent dangerous complications.

Your Night Vision Has Changed

How clearly can you see other cars on the road when you drive? What about street signs? Often times, the first hint that something is wrong with your vision is when your night vision begins to get worse. Common symptoms include seeing halos around lights and difficulty distinguishing objects at night.

Also Check: Can Diabetes Make You Go Blind

The 3 Stages Of Diabetic Retinopathy

1. Background Neuropathy

Background retinopathy is said to occur if you have developed microaneurysms on your retina. Microaneurysms are when there is a swelling of the capillaries that feed into the retina. The presence of relatively small numbers of microaneurysms will not usually cause problems with vision.

If the extent of retinopathy is able to grow more significantly, however, this is more likely to present a risk to your vision. Retinopathy can be treated, so it is important that you attend retinopathy screening appointments.

2. Maculopathy

Diabetic maculopathy is a condition that can result from retinopathy. Maculopathy is damage to the macula, the part of the eye which provides us with our central vision. A common from of damage is from diabetic macular oedema in which fluid builds up on the macula. Diabetic maculopathy is often treated by laser surgery.

3. Proliferative Retinopathy

Get Your Eyes Screened

What Is Type 1 Diabetes? | 2 Minute Guide | Diabetes UK

Eye screening is a way of spotting eye problems before you notice any changes to your sight.

Everyone whos over 12 years old and living with diabetes is entitled to an NHS diabetes eye screening at least once every two years. Its one of your diabetes health checks.

Diabetic retinopathy can become quite advanced before it starts affecting your sight, so that’s why it’s important to go to your regular eye screening appointments. That way, you can get the right treatment in time.

Weve also got more information about what happens during an eye screening, so you can feel prepared going to your appointment.

Read our latest update for more information on eye screening and other routine appointments.

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How Diabetes Affects Your Vision

  • Eye Health

Diabetes is a disease affecting your pancreas, which also affects the blood sugar and insulin levels in your body. Not only does diabetes affect your pancreas, but it also systemically affects your entire body. Typically, people already know that diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke but, most people dont know that diabetes can also affect your vision. Therefore, regular comprehensive eye exams are needed to detect these issues early on to keep your eyes healthy. There are several eye diseases that occur as a result of diabetes. Read on to find out more about these diseases and how they may affect your vision.

Diabetic retinopathy

The simplest way to explain diabetic retinopathy is that small blood vessels in your eyes begin to leak blood or yellow fluid into your eye. Early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include having floaters, blurry vision, or distorted vision. If blurred vision or other symptoms dont clear up with improved blood sugar control, oftentimes medicine and other procedures may restore vision. The biggest preventative to diabetic retinopathy is management of blood sugar to normal levels and getting regular eye exams to catch the condition as early as possible. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in diabetics.

Diabetic macular edema



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Diabetes And Its Impact On Vision

Currently, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults. The most common eye diseases caused by diabetes are retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. Here are the facts:

  • Diabetic retinopathy accounts for 12 percent of all new cases of blindness in the U.S.
  • Once a person is diagnosed with diabetes, they are 40 percent more likely to develop glaucoma.
  • A person with diabetes is 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts.

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How Diabetic Retinopathy Is Diagnosed

During your eye exam, your eye doctor will check how well you see the details of letters or symbols from a distance. Your doctor will also look at the retina and inside of your eyes and may use a dye to reveal leaky blood vessels. If it turns out you have diabetic retinopathy, your eye doctor may want to check your vision more often than once a year.

You should be checked for diabetic retinopathy immediately if youre diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. If you have type 1 diabetes, you should be checked within 5 years of your diagnosis and then regularly thereafter, typically every year. The sooner youre treated for diabetic retinopathy, the better that treatment will work.

  • Blurring
  • Difficulty reading or doing detail work

How To Detect And Treat Vision Loss From Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic Retinopathy

The eyes may be windows to the soul, but for people with diabetes, looking deep into the retina can also reveal a diabetes-related eye disease.

Two of the most common types of vision loss related to diabetes are macular edema and retinopathy. Both are under the scope of diabetic eye disease, which includes all the retinal changes caused by diabetes. Diabetes can also make you more likely to have other eye conditions, including cataracts and glaucoma.

The good news: Advances in testing are catching problems before serious retinal changes occur. This is an important step since eye damage may have no symptoms at first. And if you already have diabetes-related eye disease, advances in treatment can save your sight.

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Treatments For Diabetic Retinopathy

Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is only necessary if screening detects significant problems that mean your vision is at risk.

If the condition has not reached this stage, the above advice on managing your diabetes is recommended.

The main treatments for more advanced diabetic retinopathy are:

  • laser treatment
  • injections of medication into your eyes
  • an operation to remove blood or scar tissue from your eyes

Diagnosing The Cause Of Vision Loss

Any time you have a change to your vision, you should make an appointment with an eye doctor. Many times, the cause could be as simple as a change to your refractive error, and perhaps you need new glasses or contact lenses. Sometimes, however, it could mean there is an eye disorder that requires treatment.

You should also see an eye doctor if you notice a change in vision in only one eye and not the other.

An eye doctor such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist will perform various tests to examine your vision loss. These could include:

  • Retinal exam: This is performed with drops that dilate, or widen, the pupil. This helps the doctor to see the retina in the back of the eye.
  • Visual field test: This assesses the vision you have in the eye and measures any blind spots.

Other tests performed will be specific for the potential cause of vision loss.

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Quit Smoking Or Never Start

Youre probably aware that smoking can cause severe health issues like cancer and heart disease.

You may not know, however, that smokers are also more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and more likely to experience the diseases which cause vision loss. Smoking increases the risk of diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration which all lead to vision loss or blindness.

Quitting smoking is not easy, but its worth it for your health and improving your chances of keeping your sight well into your golden years.

Regular Diabetes Eye Checks

What Is Type 2 Diabetes? | 2 Minute Guide | Diabetes UK

People with diabetes need regular, specialist eye checks with an optometrist or an eye doctor . This will involve a dilated eye exam.

First, the specialist will administer eye drops to enlarge the pupils.

Then, they will examine the retina, at the back of the eye, for any changes or unusual features. They will look for signs of diabetic retinopathy.

A doctor may recommend an eye exam or more, depending on the persons current eye health.

People need more regular checks during pregnancy as retinopathy can worsen during this time.

For people with diabetes, regular diabetes eye exams can detect problems in the early stages.

If early signs of eye problems are present, a doctor will likely recommend:

  • a treatment plan to help manage glucose levels
  • managing high blood pressure, which can also affect eye health
  • more regular eye tests and monitoring

These measures can slow or prevent further changes for some time.

Also Check: Difference Between Diabetes 1 And 2

Help Us Promote A Healthy Lifestyle

Without making changes to improve their health, 15 to 30 percent of prediabetics will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. It is more than just your eye health that concerns us. As your trusted lifelong vision partner, we care about every aspect of your health. By raising awareness about prediabetes and diabetes, we can encourage each other to promote healthy lifestyles that will help protect us and our loved ones from the damaging effects of this disease.

Thank you for reading our blog and for being a valued patient and friend!

Find a Vision Source® practice near you using our search tool.

Top image by Flickr user Peter McConnochie used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Vision Source November 23, 2015

Weight Loss In Children

Unexplained weight loss can occur in people who have type 2 diabetes, but its more common in people with type 1. Type 1 diabetes usually affects children and adolescents. Parents are often the first to notice an unusual weight loss in a child with type 1 diabetes.

Weight loss in kids with diabetes can occur even in those who have a normal or increased appetite for the same reasons it happens in adults with diabetes. Once kids are diagnosed and treated for diabetes, weight loss ceases and typically returns to normal.

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Swelling Of The Eye Lens

Another potential effect from diabetes is swelling of the eye lens, leading to blurry vision. If your blood sugar levels change quickly from low to normal, the shape of your eyes lens can be affected and your vision can be blurred. Your vision goes back to normal after your blood sugar stabilizes. If youre getting eyeglasses, make sure your blood sugar levels are controlled before your exam so that you can get the most accurate glasses prescription, says Cai.

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Eyes

Diabetic Eye Exam (Retinal Scan)

Diabetes can lead to blurry vision in several ways.

In some cases, its a minor problem that you can resolve by stabilizing your blood sugar or taking eye drops. Other times, its a sign of something more serious thats worth discussing with your doctor.

In fact, blurred sight is often one of the first warning signs of diabetes.

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Blood Sugar And Vision Problems

Blurred vision could just be a temporary problem that develops rapidly and is caused by high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell, which changes your ability to see. Changing the shape of the lens naturally throws off vision. This can be a chronic, 24/7 kind of problem, or it can occur only after a high-carb meal, when glucose is way up.

The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide says that after-meal blurriness can be prevented by avoiding high-carb meals. The cure for chronic, all-the-time blurriness is to get blood glucose down to normal range before meals. It may take as long three months of relatively normal blood glucose levels before vision returns to your baseline normal.

Facts About Vision Loss Due To Diabetes

Diabetes is a common cause of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts. In fact, diabetics are 40% more likely to have glaucoma, and 60% more likely to have cataracts, per the American Diabetes Association. If left unchecked, vision loss due to diabetes is irreversible. The National Eye Institute , however, states that early detection and treatment can reduce ones risk of blindness by 95%. Here are seven facts about diabetes-related vision loss:

  • Diabetes Damages the Retina
  • When light passes through the eye, it hits a layer of tissue called the retina. Cells here are sensitive to light and pass it on to the optic nerve. The retina has small blood vessels that can be damaged by chronically high blood sugar levels or high blood pressure. Diabetic retinopathy is when these vessels start to leak, or hemorrhage, distorting ones vision.

    There are four stages of this condition:

    There are usually no symptoms during the early stages of diabetic retinopathy and is one of the most common causes of diabetes sight loss.

  • Diabetes Causes Blurry Vision
  • Diabetic macular edema is a build-up of fluid in the macula, a part of the eye responsible for seeing straight ahead. It occurs in half of people with diabetic retinopathy, at any stage of the condition, according to the NEIs Facts About Diabetic Eye Disease. Blurred vision is the primary symptom.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy and DME Can Be Easily Detected
  • Diabetic Retinopathy Is Treatable
  • To treat DME, therapies include:

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