Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults over 55.  Changes in blood sugar may cause vision to fluctuate, causing glasses prescriptions to frequently change.  Diabetes can also cause problems to the retina known as diabetic retinopathy.  This usually includes bleeding in the retina, and may cause permanent vision loss.  Elevated blood pressure along with uncontrolled blood sugar levels combine for even higher risk of diabetic retinal disease.  It’s recommended for all diabetics to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once every 12 months.  Due to vision changes, eye doctors are sometimes the first to diagnose diabetes.

Potential Vision Changes:

  • Blood Sugar (BS) elevation may cause a shift in refractive error.  This would cause a patient’s glasses prescription to change.  Depending on what your current prescription is, the rise in BS can cause your distance vision to get worse, and in some cases can cause it to get better.
  • Bleeding/Swelling in the retina.  Uncontrolled diabetes will increase the risk of damage to the retina through bleeding and swelling.  This can cause change in vision that a change in glasses won’t help.  The vision may be blurred or “splotchy” with patches of clear and blurred vision mixed together.
  • Elevated Blood Pressure (BP):  Diabetics that have high BP have nearly a 50% greater risk to develop retinal problems than with diabetics that have controlled BP.

Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy:

  • Systemic control of BS.  Absolutely have to control the systemic disease through a regimen of diet, medication, and exercise that your doctor has prescribed.
  • Laser therapy.  A retinal specialist may need to give a single or a series of treatments to control bleeding and damage to the eye relating to swelling and uncontrolled BS and/or BP.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S.  Please call and make an appointment so we can be sure to detect the earliest signs of problems.