Diabetic eye disease, also called diabetic retinopathy, is an eye condition that you may get if you have diabetes. It typically starts out mild, but without treatment, can ultimately cause a loss of eyesight. It is associated with having too much sugar in the blood, which can then cause issues with the eyes. Here are some things to know about this disease and what can be about it.
There Are Different Stages
Diabetic eye disease is caused by blood sugar changes due to your diabetes, but you might experience different stages of the disease. These stages vary based on the severity of the disease. The first stage is typically mild, where you will have slight swelling in your eye's blood vessels and leak fluid out of the retina. You might not experience many vision disturbances during this first stage. After that is moderate retinopathy, in which you start noticing some distortion of your vision. During the third stage, you have entered severe retinopathy, where the blood vessels in your eyes become blocked. The last advanced stage causes the most vision loss, along with the growth of new blood vessels and fluid that fills up the eye. You might be at a higher risk if you had a sudden onset of diabetes or are an older adult with diabetes.
You Need to Pay Attention to the Symptoms
When you have diabetes, it is important that you look for different clues that your bod is giving you about problems. This includes with your eye health. If you notice any type of disturbances or discomfort in your eyes, make sure you contact a doctor right away. In the beginning, the symptoms often include a slight increase of fluid in the eyes, mild discomfort, or blurry vision. You might also have more of a hazy vision, which could be from cataracts in addition to the diabetic eye disease.
Controlling Your Diabetes is Key to Prevention
It is possible to protect your vision and avoid diabetic eye disease by paying close attention to your blood sugar levels. Controlling diabetes helps your entire body, from your eyes to your toes, so don't neglect your health just because you feel okay. Even if you show symptoms of the first stage of retinopathy, you might be able to get treatment and avoid permanent vision loss as long as you seek help from your eye doctor as soon as possible. You should make sure you keep getting routine eye exams (from a professional optometrist), including when you become pregnant and are diagnosed with diabetes, or shortly after being diagnosed with another form of diabetes.