How Does Diabetes Affect Your Eyes?

If you have diabetes, you’re probably already making the lifestyle changes suggested by your family doctor or endocrinologist. You may be watching what you eat, getting more exercise, or taking medication to help you manage your blood sugar levels. These are all effective strategies for dealing with your disorder. However, it’s important to pay special attention to your eyes and vision, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. Regular visits to your eye doctor in Coldwater, MS, can help.

How Can Diabetes Affect My Eyes?

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to several eye disorders, including:

  • Diabetic retinopathy: Abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina.
  • Glaucoma: Too much pressure forms inside the eye.
  • Macular Edema: Part of the retina, the macula, begins to swell.
  • Cataracts: A cloudy film forms over the surface of the eye’s lens.

While some of these can be effectively treated to prevent further damage, vision that has been lost usually can’t be restored. For this reason, it’s important to make regular appointments with your eye doctor if you’ve received a diabetes diagnosis.

How Can My Eye Doctor Help?

Your eye doctor can perform regular vision screenings to check for signs of problems, such as glaucoma or cataracts. By catching symptoms early, they may be able to devise strategies to help you avoid permanent vision loss. Some of the tests your eye doctor may perform include:

  • Dilated eye exam
  • Visual acuity test
  • Tonometry
  • Opthalmoscopy
  • Angiography
  • Optical Coherence Tomography

Your vision specialist will explain each test as they perform it, and they can usually let you know your results right away. All are painless and non-invasive methods of discerning what’s happening inside your eyes. And all may be instrumental in preserving your vision.

Diabetes-Related Eye Care in Coldwater, MS

If you need special care for diabetes-related eye conditions in Coldwater, MS, Coldwater Vision Center is waiting to help. Through routine screenings, treatment, and maintenance, we can assist you in managing diabetic eye conditions that threaten the health of your vision. Call today to schedule a convenient time to come in and talk with one of our friendly and experienced professionals.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy to Look For

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. This condition directly affects the eyes and vision. At its core, diabetic retinopathy comes about due to blood vessel damage within the retina. When this light-sensitive tissue is damaged because of lack of blood flow and oxygen, reduced vision or lack of vision can result. Diabetic retinopathy is very serious and can lead to complete blindness. Thankfully, there are plenty of signs and symptoms along the way that you and your eye doctor in Coldwater, MS can be on the lookout for.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy?

The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can come along gradually or suddenly. If you pay attention to your vision, you should be able to detect these symptoms. If the symptoms occur in between your eye doctor appointments, then contact your Coldwater, MS eye doctor immediately for a complete checkup. The earlier that diabetic retinopathy in Coldwater, MS is diagnosed, the sooner you can get treatment and potentially save your vision. Here are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy to look for:

  • Noticeable increase in “floaters”
  • Seeing spots in your field of vision
  • Intermittent or lasting blurred vision
  • Dimming vision while looking at something
  • Having to blink to refocus
  • Marked loss in ability to see up close or far away
  • Blind spots on the periphery of vision
  • Blind spots in the immediate field of vision
  • Dark areas of vision
  • Sensation of pain within the eye or behind the eye
  • Increase in headaches

There may be other symptoms of diabetic retinopathy that are not listed here. If you have any disturbance in your vision, it’s important that you notify your eye doctor in Coldwater, MS as soon as possible to investigate the possibility of advancing diabetic retinopathy.

Risk Factors for Diabetic Retinopathy

Some people are more at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy than others. If you have any of the following risk factors, be sure you let your eye doctor know so that you can both be on the lookout for symptoms of diabetic retinopathy in Coldwater, MS.

  • Overweight/obese
  • Diagnosed diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Use of tobacco products, including vaping
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Chronic circulation problems
  • And more

Diabetic retinopathy is a dangerous condition that can leave you with total vision loss. Be sure to speak to your eye doctor in Coldwater, MS about your risk factors.

How Your Vision Care Plan Changes After a Diabetes Diagnosis

Diabetes affects roughly 10 percent of the population here in the United States. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you can expect your vision care plan to change in a few noteworthy ways.

More Frequent Eye Exams

For most healthy adults, medical professionals agree that getting an eye exam every one or two years will suffice to keep close tabs on eye health. However, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is recommended that you have your eyes examined every year, and possibly more if you have vision problems. Because 1 in 5 people with diabetes does develop some kind of issue with their vision or eyes, keeping a closer watch on your eye health will be important. As an adage, anyone who has diabetes and gets pregnant should have their eyes checked during the first three months of pregnancy and then again around 12 months after the baby is born.

In-Depth Examinations to Look for Signs of Vision Problems

Most eye doctors perform a comprehensive eye exam regardless of whether you have diabetes or not. However, if you do have diabetes, the doctor will be looking for signs of certain diseases, retinal changes, and other issues that are prevalent among people with diabetes. For example, you will get a dilated eye exam, which means special drops will be put into your eyes to force pupil dilation, so the eye doctor can examine the back structures of your eye more closely.

Your Eye Doctor Will Be Asking About Diabetes Control

Most general eye exams will involve some discussion of your current health status, as your overall health affects your eye health. However, when you have diabetes, the eye doctor will also be interested in how well your diabetes is being controlled. They may ask questions like:

  • If you are taking medications for diabetes management
  • How often you are checking your blood sugar levels
  • What your latest results were from an A1C blood test

These questions can give the doctor further insight into what problems you may be experiencing with your vision that are related to your blood sugar levels.

Talk to a Coldwater Eye Doctor About Visual Health and Diabetes

The better you take care of your vision with diabetes, the less likely it will be that you develop problems. If you have diabetes and need help with visual health, reach out to us at Coldwater Vision Center in Coldwater, MS to schedule an appointment.