The 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report revealed that in 2012 9.3 percent of the American population had diabetes. Despite its increasing prevalence, many people don’t understand diabetes and how it can lead to other potential health issues such as vision problems.
Diabetes occurs when there is a persistent elevation in blood sugar (glucose) levels. This is primarily caused when the body fails to produce enough insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.
The following vision problems can arise from untreated diabetes:
- Diabetic retinopathy – Elevated blood sugar levels can put extra strain on the blood vessels including those in the eyes. These blood vessels in the retina leak, bleed, and swell from too much pressure, leading to vision problems. Changes in the retina may not be noticeable at first, which makes diabetic retinopathy a serious problem because it often has progressed to an advanced stage before its presence is known.
- Cataracts – It is estimated that individuals with diabetes are 60 percent more at risk of developing cataracts. Cataracts develop when there is a buildup of certain proteins in the eye lenses. When this happens, the lenses become cloudy, leading to vision difficulties. Symptoms of cataracts include sudden double vision, poor night vision, and the perception of extra brightness from headlights or sunlight. A halo may appear around lights, too.
- Glaucoma – Diabetics are twice as likely to develop open-angle glaucoma than non-diabetics. In glaucoma, the optic nerve is damaged due to increased pressure within the eye. In open-angle glaucoma, eye fluids do not properly drain resulting in elevated pressure.
Take steps toward a lifestyle that reduces your risk of diabetes and promotes optimum eye health at the same time. Call 352.237.8400 to schedule a personal consultation at the Central Florida Eye Institute today!