Diabetes is becoming increasingly prevalent, with an estimated one in three Canadians currently living with diabetes or prediabetes. Since November is Diabetes Awareness Month, the team at UOptical is dedicating this month’s blog to explaining how the condition, which occurs when your body does not respond to or produce insulin, can affect your vision.

Diabetic Eye Disease Explained

There are several eye conditions that can result from diabetes. They include:

  • Diabetic Macular Edema: Your macula – the part of the retina that provides clarity of vision – can swell when blood vessels leak as a result of diabetes. This can lead to symptoms like blurred or distorted vision. 
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy occurs when changes in the retina’s blood vessels lead to leakage or abnormal new blood vessels growing on the retina’s surface. 
  • Glaucoma: Neovascular glaucoma can be caused by diabetes. High sugar levels can damage retinal blood vessels and cause abnormal new ones to form. New blood vessels growing on the iris can increase eye pressure and lead to glaucoma.
  • Cataracts: Diabetes can cause cataracts to form earlier and progress more quickly due to high levels of sugar in the blood. 

Blood sugar levels that change quickly from low to normal can also affect the shape of your eye’s lens, which can lead to blurred vision. When your blood sugar levels stabilize, your vision returns to normal, so see your eye doctor if you’re experiencing these fluctuations in sight quality.

Tips for Preventing Diabetic Eye Disease

The best way to prevent diabetes-related eye problems is to control your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Your doctor can advise you on how to keep your blood sugar levels normal and avoid the fluctuations that can lead to diabetic eye disease, well as recommend strategies for reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol, since these can both worsen diabetic eye disease.

Other tips include.

  • Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure: Protect your eyes against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays by wearing sunglasses when you go outside These rays can speed up the progression of cataracts.
  • Stop Smoking: When you smoke, it can harm your blood vessels, including those in your eyes, so giving up smoking can help you keep your vision healthier.

Often, diabetes goes undiagnosed until eye or vision problems appear, so consult your doctor if you are experiencing blurred or distorted vision. Should you be diagnosed with diabetes, you can prevent or delay vision damage through regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and prescription medications. Advanced conditions can be treated with surgical and nonsurgical procedures such as glaucoma and retinal lasers.

Diabetic Eye Problems Require Professional Treatment

When you’re living with diabetes, prescription eyewear, including sunglasses, can protect your eyes and support greater vision accuracy. At UOptical, we have a wide range of attractive frames to choose from, so to see what we have in stock, please call (416) 292-0075 or contact us online.