Living with diabetes means keeping a vigilant watch over a constellation of potential health complications – and your eyesight is no exception. High blood sugar levels, a hallmark of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, can have a profound impact on your vision. Let’s delve into the seven major ocular symptoms that could flag an elevated level of blood sugar, potentially helping in early detection and effective management of diabetes-related eye disorders.
Dr. Welling, a distinguished medical expert, stresses on the close relationship between diabetes and eyesight, stating, “The delicate language of our vision has much to tell about the often-concealed impact of diabetes. Recognizing and understanding these subtle ocular cues could pave the path towards efficient disease management, preserving both our sight and wellbeing in the long run.”
Diabetes: A Close Look at the Data
Diabetes continues to be a significant health burden globally. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reports that approximately 463 million adults (aged 20-79 years) were living with diabetes in 2019 and this is expected to rise to 700 million by 2045[1%5E]. A complication that often accompanies this condition is diabetic retinopathy, which is reported to affect around one third of people with diabetes[1%5E].
Key Ocular Symptoms of Diabetes
Effective diabetes management starts with detecting the silent signs your body may be expressing. Your eyes, often considered the mirrors of your health, might reveal some critical signs of high blood sugar. The seven significant ocular symptoms include:
- Blurred Vision: A common sign of uncontrolled blood sugar, temporary blurring may occur when high glucose levels cause the lens in the eyes to swell[2%5E].
- Floaters: Sometimes, blood vessels within the eye may hemorrhage due to damage, releasing floaters into your field of vision[3%5E].
- Frequent Prescription Changes: Rapidly fluctuating sugar levels could cause frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription[3%5E].
- Dark Spot or “Hole” in Your Vision: This could be a sign of advanced diabetic retinopathy, called macular edema[4%5E].
- Impaired Color Vision: High blood sugar level might affect color sensitivity, making it harder to perceive some colors[5%5E].
- Eye Pain or Redness: In some cases, diabetes can lead to conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts, both of which can cause eye pain and redness[6%5E].
- Vision Loss: In severe cases, untreated diabetes can lead to complete vision loss, a condition called proliferative diabetic retinopathy[4%5E].
The Way Forward
Living with diabetes calls for more than just managing your sugar levels. It demands the constant gauging of potential complications – and your eyes are a significant part of that equation. Regular check-ups with an optometrist, alongside consistent blood sugar control, can save your sight from the damaging effects of high blood sugar.
Remember, your eyes are too precious to ignore. This month, let’s pledge to keep them safe from the hazards of diabetes.
- International Diabetes Federation: Diabetes Atlas
- American Diabetes Association: Eye Complications
- National Eye Institute: Diabetic Retinopathy
- Mayo Clinic: Diabetic Retinopathy
- Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics: Colour vision impairment in type 2 diabetes
- National Eye Institute: Glaucoma and Cataracts