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Diabetes can blur your vision, so keep an eye on it

Updated on:17 September 2021, 10:36am IST
Did you know that blurry vision is one of the first warning signs of diabetes? Yes, you heard it right - your blood sugar levels and eye health are linked.
Dr Ravikumar Ryakha
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eye health and blood sugar levels
Take care of your eye health, especially if your blood sugar levels are out of whack. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Diabetes has become increasingly common over the last few decades, and the unfortunate part is that it brings with it several related medical issues. For one, people with high blood glucose levels often find it difficult to see fine details of an object. Sometimes, people cannot differentiate between different shades of the same colour. Yes ladies, your eye health and blood sugar levels are linked. 

Most of the time, these signs are overlooked, but that’s where the problem lies. 

Vision-related complications are frequent in people with diabetes.  Around 25% of people with type-1 and type-2 diabetes develop eye complications associated with high blood glucose levels. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can damage the blood vessels supplying to the light-sensitive tissue present on the back of the eyes in the retina, thereby making it crucial for people having diabetes to control their blood glucose levels. 

Understanding the diabetic eye

The diabetic eye is a collective term given to a group of eye conditions that usually affect people having high blood glucose levels for a long time. Usually, people having diabetes develop diabetic retinopathy. The other conditions that develop due to the complications of diabetic retinopathy are diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. Diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy are leading causes of blindness in people with diabetes.

Generally, people whose eyes develop diabetes-related complications may experience mild symptoms. However, some do not exhibit any signs. But the absence of symptoms does not mean that they cannot develop any complications associated with the diabetic eye.

People having diabetic eye may experience the following symptoms:

  • Blurring of vision
  • Difficulty in perceiving different shades of the same color
  • Dark strings or spots floating in the vision
  • Straining to see things in dim-lit spaces.

Also, read: Your ready to use guide on dos and don’ts of type 2 diabetes

If one experiences these symptoms, they must seek advice from their doctor to prevent it from getting worse. 

eye health and blood sugar levels
Diabetes and eye health complications goes hand in hand. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
People at risk for developing diabetic eye:

Uncontrolled blood glucose levels for a long time can adversely affect your eyes. People who are at an attenuated probability of developing diabetic eye are:

  • People having diabetes for a prolonged time (the risk of developing eye complications is greater in people having a prolonged history of diabetes)
  • Pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes (not gestational diabetes)
  • People having uncontrolled blood glucose levels for a long time.
  • Individuals having high blood cholesterol levels or high blood pressure.
  • People who smoke cigarettes
  • Obese people

Diabetic eyes can negatively affect the quality of life of people with diabetes. People having diabetes must ensure to control their blood glucose levels.

eye health and blood sugar levels
If you notice you’re experiencing headaches or migraines more frequently than you did before, it may be time for a diabetic eye exam. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How can you prevent diabetic eye complications?

People with diabetes must realise the importance of regular eye check-ups and make it a habit to see an eye specialist for a complete eye check-up once a year. Early detection of diabetic eye and timely medical intervention can prevent the development and progression of diabetic eye complications. Besides, visiting a doctor regularly people with diabetes can include the following lifestyle changes:

  • Keep your blood glucose levels in control
  • Avoid smoking tobacco
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get a thorough eye check-up done at least once every year
  • Add green, leafy vegetables, and fiber-rich food to your diet

By going for regular eye check-ups and maintaining blood glucose levels, people having diabetes can steer clear of eye problems and their complications.

Dr Ravikumar Ryakha Dr Ravikumar Ryakha

Dr Ravikumar Ryakha, DM (Endocrinology), Consultant Diabetologist / Thyroidologist and Endocrinologist, SUPER Specialty Centre for Diabetes Thyroid and Endocrinology