the 1 last update 08 Jul 2020 Conditions Conditions
Questions answered by Burt Dubow, OD
How Does Diabetes Affect Eyes?
Q: How does diabetes affect your eyes? — L.L., Connecticut
A: Diabetes causes problems in the retina with what are collectively called microvascular abnormalities. The small blood vessels develop microaneurysms and leak blood. New blood vessel growth (neovascularization) occurs. Unfortunately, these blood vessels are weak and also leak. These leaks (hemorrhages) can cause irreversible damage to the retina and permanent vision loss.
Patients with controlled diabetes do better than those with uncontrolled diabetes. However, even a person whose diabetes is under perfect control can still develop diabetic retinopathy — hence, the need for yearly for 1 last update 08 Jul 2020 retinal exams. — Dr. SlonimPatients with controlled diabetes do better than those with uncontrolled diabetes. However, even a person whose diabetes is under perfect control can still develop diabetic retinopathy — hence, the need for yearly retinal exams. — Dr. Slonim
Q: Does diabetic retinopathy get progressively worse? — F.R.
A: Yes. When left unrecognized and untreated, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and eventually lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy can even get worse despite use of the best treatments that currently exist for it. — Dr. Slonim
Q: My father has type 2 diabetes and he is seeing double. We went to the hospital about a week ago and they said the diabetes had affected a nerve on the right eye. Can medicine get his sight back to normal? — W.C.
A: Diabetes can affect any one of the three cranial nerves that are responsible for movement of the eyes. Diabetes is one of the more common conditions associated with sixth nerve (Abducens nerve) palsies. Paralysis of this nerve affects the lateral rectus muscle that allows the eye to look outward. There is no specific medicine for this. The paralysis can be temporary and last a few months or it can be permanent. — Dr. Slonim
Q: Can diabetes cause you to have eye infections such as pink eye and frequent styes? — K.M.
A: That''s resistance to infection. Keeping your A1c (marker of blood sugar levels) as low as possible and practicing good hygiene such as washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching or rubbing your eyes can help. — Dr. Dubow
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Among other problems, diabetes can damage blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak blood into the posterior of the eye.
Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms
Q: I''t cause any vision symptoms whatsoever. That''s super important to have regular, dilated eye examinations. Leaky vessels, if serious enough, can be treated to prevent major vision loss. — Dr. Dubow
Q: My dad is diabetic and for the first time today he experienced a sort of sight loss in his right eye. He said he saw shadows and felt like a little white thread was on his eye. He could see a blood spot right in front of his eye. What does that mean? Is he losing the 1 last update 08 Jul 2020 his eyesight from being diabetic? — I.Q: My dad is diabetic and for the first time today he experienced a sort of sight loss in his right eye. He said he saw shadows and felt like a little white thread was on his eye. He could see a blood spot right in front of his eye. What does that mean? Is he losing his eyesight from being diabetic? — I.
A: Any type of vision loss in a diabetic or non-diabetic needs to be thoroughly checked out by a qualified eye doctor. Not only can diabetes cause vision loss but so can vascular problems in the eye, which are similar to a stroke in the brain. — Dr. Slonim
Q: I was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I have been nearsighted for 25 years. After I started taking medication, my vision improved to a point where I no longer needed glasses for distance, but my near vision got worse.
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In this video, Rep. James Clyburn asks African-American diabetics to get annual eye exams.
Now I am starting to reverse, and I am again starting to use my glasses again (the prescription is not right). Is this typical of the disease? Will my eyesight level out? If so, how long should for 1 last update 08 Jul 2020 I wait to get new glasses? — M.H., CaliforniaNow I am starting to reverse, and I am again starting to use my glasses again (the prescription is not right). Is this typical of the disease? Will my eyesight level out? If so, how long should I wait to get new glasses? — M.H., California
A: As blood sugars go up or down in diabetes, vision can change. If the sugar level changes are minimal, so are the vision changes.
reverses diabetes type 2 ketones (☑ carbs allowed per day) | reverses diabetes type 2 injectionhow to reverses diabetes type 2 for A good rule of thumb for knowing when to get new glasses is to watch your A1c readings (average of three months glucose levels). If you are relatively stable, your glasses prescription will be accurate — especially if your A1c readings remain at or below 7 percent.
You may want to discuss this with the physician managing your diabetes and your eye doctor. They can help interpret your results. — Dr. Dubow
Q: I''nofollow''m almost 30 and I am in decent shape. I eat healthy and work out, but I recently was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Now I have noticed changes in my vision, sometimes varying by day or by week.
In this video, an eye doctor explains diabetic eye disease. (Video: National Eye Institute)
I currently use light reading glasses while on my computer. I have noticed blurriness at different light levels and distances. What bothers me is that one day I may see fine, and the next day I don''t do anything for me until after I control my blood sugar level and keep it at a specific level for extended periods of time. Why do blood sugar levels affect the eyes and vision this way? Thank you in advance for your input and advice! — N.
A: Fluctuating blood sugars and fluctuating vision are connected, because there is a correlation between the change in blood sugar levels and the ability of the crystalline lens in your eye to maintain a sharp focus. Your eye doctor will be unable to adequately correct your vision until your blood sugars remain stable. Eye doctors typically will not prescribe a pair of glasses for a diabetic whose sugars are not under control. — Dr. Slonim
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatments
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A: There are a number of possible reasons for blurry vision. The simplest is the possible need for a pair of prescription glasses. More complex reasons include cataracts that can be removed, macular degeneration for which there are treatments and diabetic retinopathy that can be controlled when identified.
It sounds like you need a complete eye examination by a qualified eye doctor to determine the source of your blurred vision. Possible treatments will be determined once the origin of your blurriness is identified. Good luck. — Dr. Slonim
Q: Recently my sister was diagnosed with borderline diabetes. However, during a recent eye exam it was discovered she has leaks in both of her eyes. We will be going to an eye specialist, but I am afraid for my sister. Her doctor is controlling her diabetes with diet and exercise. But I know leaks in the eyes are very dangerous. How successful is the laser surgery for these types of leaks? — J.R.
A: Laser treatments for diabetic retinopathy are very successful but the success rate depends on the size and the location of the leak, the length of time that the leak has existed and the stability of the diabetes. — Dr. Slonim
Contact Lenses And Diabetes
Q: Are diabetics able to use contacts? — J.H.
A: Yes, most people with diabetes can wear contact lenses. They must be properly prescribed and managed to make sure the wearer''s going on. A dilated eye exam can help pick up minor changes that can help your doctors know if your diabetes is stable or not. It''ve noticed as I grow older my sight is getting worse. How often should a person get an eye exam? — C.D., Louisiana
A: Being over 50, I can attest to the fact that the eyes do change with age! They actually change in a number of ways. The most obvious change usually happens between the ages of 40 and 50 when we lose our ability to focus on near objects and small print. This is called presbyopia, and it happens to all of us at some time. Progressive eyeglass lenses certainly are a wonderful invention to those of us in this category!
There are other the 1 last update 08 Jul 2020 changes as well:There are other changes as well:
The liquid that fills the back of the eye (vitreous) changes in color and density, causing our vision to dim and colors to appear less bright.
Our tears change, causing many of us to have problems.
The skin around the eyes loosens, causing some eyelid droopiness.
The pupils get smaller and don't react as fast, making it more difficult to see clearly in dim light and adjust to lighting changes.
Sounds grim, huh? Well, in truth, most people do just fine with these changes. The important thing is to have your eyes checked yearly to watch for diseases that can cause real problems with your vision (and your health), such as diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration and glaucoma. — Dr. Dubow
More Diabetic Retinopathy Articles
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Page updated September 2016
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