How Does Diabetes Affect My Eyes
Diabetes affects your eyes when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.
In the short term, you are not likely to have vision loss from high blood glucose. People sometimes have blurry vision for a few days or weeks when theyre changing their diabetes care plan or medicines. High glucose can change fluid levels or cause swelling in the tissues of your eyes that help you to focus, causing blurred vision. This type of blurry vision is temporary and goes away when your glucose level gets closer to normal.
If your blood glucose stays high over time, it can damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of your eyes. This damage can begin during prediabetes, when blood glucose is higher than normal, but not high enough for you to be diagnosed with diabetes. Damaged blood vessels may leak fluid and cause swelling. New, weak blood vessels may also begin to grow. These blood vessels can bleed into the middle part of the eye, lead to scarring, or cause dangerously high pressure inside your eye.
Most serious diabetic eye diseases begin with blood vessel problems. The four eye diseases that can threaten your sight are
Digestive Endocrine And Circulatory Systems
After you eat, your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates and turns them into glucose. Essentially, glucose is your bodys fuel source.
As your sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which helps glucose get taken up and used by cells throughout your body. If you have insulin-dependent diabetes, you must take the right about of insulin to get the job done.
Any excess glucose goes to your liver for storage.
When you go a few hours without eating, blood sugar levels go down. If you have a healthy pancreas, it releases a hormone called glucagon to make up for the absence of food. This hormone tells your liver to process the stored sugars and release them into your bloodstream.
If everything works as it should, your blood sugar levels should remain in the normal range until your next meal.
Insufficient blood sugar levels can cause a rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations. However, even if you have diabetes, you may not always have obvious symptoms of low blood sugar. This is a potentially dangerous condition called hypoglycemia unawareness. It happens when you experience low blood sugar so often that it changes your bodys response to it.
Normally, low blood sugar causes your body to release stress hormones, such as epinephrine. Epinephrine is responsible for those early warning signs, like hunger and shakiness.
What To Eat Instead
Theres no need to fight those sugar cravings. They happen and they wont go away until theyre satisfied. But, when they happen, you can make an effort to eat the right sugars. Instead of reaching for a cookie or candy bar the next time the craving strikes, grab a handful of fruit.
But, dont grab just any fruit. Youll want a fruit that ranks low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index was created to rank the foods that cause spikes in blood sugar. The food is typically ranked out of 100, with 100 being the largest blood sugar spike.
Here are some fruits that are low on the glycemic index:
Next time you have a sugar craving, ask yourself if going for the candy is worth risking your eye health.
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How Do Health Problems From Diabetes Begin
If your diabetes is not well controlled, the sugar level in your blood goes up. This is called hyperglycemia . High blood sugar can cause damage to very small blood vessels in your body. Imagine what happens to sugar when it is left unwrapped overnight. It gets sticky. Now imagine how sugar sticks to your small blood vessels and makes it hard for blood to get to your organs. Damage to blood vessels occurs most often in the eyes, heart, nerves, feet, and kidneys. Lets look at how this damage happens.
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Diabetic Eye Disease Prevention
The best way to prevent diabetes-related eye problems is to manage your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.Ways you can help prevent eye problems caused by diabetes include:
- Control your blood sugar. Your doctor can provide direction on how to keep your blood sugar normal and avoid fluctuations that can lead to diabetic eye diseases. In addition to getting your eyes checked, its also very important to keep the blood sugars under control, says Cai. This is not only good for you overall, but also good for your eyes.
- Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Get recommendations from your doctor on ways you can combat high blood pressure and cholesterol, because these can worsen diabetic eye disease.
- Stop smoking. Smoking can cause further damage to your blood vessels, including the ones in your eyes, so its very important to stop smoking.
- Avoid harmful rays. Protect yourself from the suns harmful ultraviolet rays by wearing sunglasses. Exposure to these rays can speed up the progression of cataracts.
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Good News Yes Diabetic Retinopathy Can Be Reversed And Yes Diabetic Retinopathy Can Be Reversed With Diet
Overall the number 1 thing is to stick to diet.
Heres a famous one for you: Dr. Walter Kempners rice and fruit diet.
Kempners Rice Diet program began at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 1939. The treatment was a simple therapy of white rice, fruit, juice, and sugar, and was reserved for only the most seriously ill patients. Although low-tech, the benefits of the Rice Diet far exceed those of any drug or surgery ever prescribed for chronic conditions, like prediabetes and diabetes.
In addition to diet, DME can be treated with several therapies that may be used alone or in combination, including:
- Anti-VEGF Injection Therapy
Treating An Episode Of Hypoglycaemia
The immediate treatment for hypoglycaemia is to have some sugary food or drink to end the attack.
For example, this could be:
- a glass of fruit juice or non-diet soft drink
- between three and five dextrose tablets
- a handful of sweets
At first you should avoid fatty foods and drinks, such as chocolate and milk, because they don’t usually contain as much sugar and the sugar they do contain may be absorbed more slowly.
After having something sugary, you should have a longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar, a piece of fruit or a sandwich.
It will usually take around 15 minutes to recover from a mild episode of hypoglycaemia. If you have a blood glucose meter, measure your blood sugar again after 15 to 20 minutes. If it’s still too low , you should have some more sugary food or a drink before testing your levels again in another 15 to 20 minutes.
When treating someone else with hypoglycaemia, if the above treatment isn’t effective, you may be able to help them by applying glucose gel to the inside of their cheeks, and gently massaging the outside of their cheeks.
It may take 10 to 15 minutes before they feel better. This shouldn’t be done if the person is drowsy or unconscious because of the risk of choking.
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Ways Diabetic Patients Can Improve Their Eye Health
If you are living with diabetes then you know there are many risks that come along with it. Diabetes can lead to nerve and kidney damage and it can also seriously compromise the health of your eyes.
Fortunately, there are ways you can proactively take control of your health and reduce your risk for diabetic eye diseases. Lets look at six ways diabetic patients can improve their eye health:
- Keep your blood sugar under control
Diabetic patients need to keep close tabs on their blood sugar and make sure it doesnt get too high. Elevated blood sugar can change the shapes of your lens, which causes blurry vision. It can also damage the blood vessels in your eyes.
- Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
If you have high cholesterol, you are at a higher risk for developing eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration. By maintaining a healthy cholesterol level you lower your likelihood of developing either.
- Dont smoke cigarettes
Its no secret that smoking cigarettes are terrible for your lungs. But did you know that theyre also bad for your eyes? Smokers are at a higher risk for developing diseases like diabetic retinopathy.
- Get plenty of exercise
On the other hand, exercise is a great way to stay healthy and manage your diabetes. Diabetic patients who exercise regularly do a better job controlling their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Eat a healthy diet
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How Excessive Sugar Intake Affects Eye Health
Sugar is a pro-inflammatory ingredient that, in some patients, causes high glycemia, or high blood sugar. Inflammation and high blood sugar can affect your entire body, including your eyes. When you have high blood sugar, your eye lenses will swell, which in turn brings about problems such as blurry vision.Studies have proven this effect, and those with chronic high blood sugar problems are more at risk for eye disease.
One of the most common sugar-related diseases is diabetes, in which your body either doesnt create insulin or doesnt produce enough of it for your needs. Insulin is used to remove excess sugar from your blood, so if you dont have enough insulin, youre at risk for high blood sugar and high blood pressure problems. Both of these problems can hurt your eye health and put you at risk for eye disease. For those who have diabetes, poorly managed sugar intake can result in diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition in which the blood vessels in your eyes become damaged , resulting in blurriness, visual impairment and, in extreme cases, blindness.
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Symptoms Of A Low Blood Sugar Level
A low blood sugar level can affect everyone differently. Youâll learn how it makes you feel, although your symptoms may change over time.
Early signs of a low blood sugar level include:
- seizures or fits
- collapsing or passing out
A low blood sugar level, or hypo, can also happen while youâre sleeping. This may cause you to wake up during the night or cause headaches, tiredness or damp sheets in the morning.
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What You Should Expect From An Eye Exam
Your ophthalmologist will first check for any changes to your glasses or contact lens prescription. People with many diabetes related problems with their vision can still wear contact lenses.
The doctor will then dilate your pupils and examine the retina. The drops used may sting for a short time. About 20 to 30 minutes later, your eyes will be fully dilated. With the use of special lenses and lights, the doctor will visually examine your retina.
To detect retinopathy, the doctor looks at all the retinal tissues. For signs of macular edema, the doctor looks at the macula in the back of your eye, but this may not be enough for a diagnosis. Your doctor may perform an optical coherence tomography, which is a laser exam of the back of the eye. While the retina is very thin, the test can measure retinal thickening as small as a thousandth of a millimeter.
A fluorescein angiogram is a test that can detect diabetic retinopathy. During the test, a dye is injected into your arm. Within 45 seconds, the dye reaches the back of the eye. Just like how blood leaks from weak blood vessels, so does the dye. Special photographs help document the results.
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Get Your Eyes Screened
Eye screening is a way of spotting eye problems before you notice any changes to your sight.
Everyone whos over 12 years old and living with diabetes is entitled to an NHS diabetes eye screening at least once every two years. Its one of your diabetes health checks.
Diabetic retinopathy can become quite advanced before it starts affecting your sight, so that’s why it’s important to go to your regular eye screening appointments. That way, you can get the right treatment in time.
Weve also got more information about what happens during an eye screening, so you can feel prepared going to your appointment.
Read our latest update for more information on eye screening and other routine appointments.
Keep In Touch With Your Eye Doctor
Frequent check-ups with your eye doctor are critical to ensuring any eye damage is diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Retinopathy can start long before you notice visual symptoms, including blurry vision.
Be sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist if you have diabetes and havent seen an eye doctor in a while.
Page published on Thursday, November 12, 2020
Page updated on Wednesday, June 15, 2022
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What Are The Treatments For Diabetic Eye Problems
Treatment for diabetic eye problems depends on the problem and how serious it is. Some of the treatments include:
- Lasers to stop blood vessels from leaking
- Injections in the eye to stop new, leaky blood vessels from growing
- Surgery to remove blood and scar tissue or replace a cloudy lens
- Eye drops to lower fluid pressure in the eye
But these treatments aren’t cures. Eye problems can come back. That’s why your best defense against serious vision loss is to take control of your diabetes and get regular eye exams. It’s also important to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in a healthy range.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Natural Treatment For Blurred Vision
Eye conditions are the most common cause of blurred vision, but in some cases, the underlying cause can be related to your cardiovascular system. Low blood sugar, high blood pressure, and stroke can also affect your vision.
There are several natural ingredients you can try that will reduce the risk of these factors that can affect your heart and vision.
Low blood glucose: Blood glucose levels affect energy and heart health. Hypoglycemia can trigger heart palpitations, which can stress heart tissues and muscles. Naturally manage blood glucose levels with red yeast rice to prevent vision defects and damage to your heart.High blood pressure: Hypertension is one of the leading causes of a heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. Dietary and lifestyle changes can help blood pressure levels, and so can natural supplements. Studies have shown that red yeast rice and berberine bark extract naturally lower blood pressure. In addition to this, taking capsicum extract promotes blood vessel dilation and enhances circulation. Stroke: The risk of stroke increases with high cholesterol. Niacin, chromium, and pine bark extract are all proven to naturally lower cholesterol levels. In doing so, they reduce the risk of a stroke.
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Prevent Or Delay Eye Diseases
You can protect your vision and lower your chance for vision loss with these steps:
- Get a dilated eye exam at least once a year so your eye doctor can spot any problems early when theyre most treatable.
- Keep your blood sugar levels in your target range as much as possible. Over time, high blood sugar not only damages blood vessels in your eyes, it can also affect the shape of your lenses and make your vision blurry.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in your target range to lower your risk for eye diseases and vision loss. Also good for your health in general!
- Quit smoking. Quitting lowers your risk for diabetes-related eye diseases and improves your health in many other ways too.
- Get active. Physical activity protects your eyes and helps you manage diabetes.
- Ask your doctor for a referral to diabetes self-management education and support services. People who receive less diabetes education are twice as likely to get diabetic retinopathy as people who receive more education.
Analysis Of The Mferg
The typical waveform of the mfERG response is a biphasic wave with an initial negative deflection followed by a positive peak wave. The P1 wave corresponds to the b wave of the full field electroretinogram . The corneal negative a-wave provides information about phototransduction processes. The corneal positive b-wave represents the postphototransduction responses.
Peak-to-peak amplitude from trough of the first negative wave to the peak of the following positive wave was measured during hypoglycemia and euglycemia. The P1 wave amplitude for the rings 1, 2 and 3 for 241 setting and rings 1 and 2 for 103 setting was averaged to obtain mean P1wave amplitude for central retinal function. The P1 wave amplitude for rings 7, 8 and 9 for 241 setting and rings 5 and 6 for 103 setting was averaged to obtain mean P1wave amplitude for the peripheral retinal response. The effect of hypoglycemia on P1 wave amplitude of central and peripheral retinal response was determined. The 3-dimensional density response was plotted during hypoglycemia and euglycemia.
Data are expressed as mean ± SEM. Data were analyzed by t tests for comparisons between percent changes in P1 wave amplitudes in central and peripheral retina during hypoglycemia and euglycemia.
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How Does A Diabetic Eye Exam Work
A diabetic eye exam can occur two ways:
Getting dilated eye examinations are so important, says Cai. This allows your doctors to identify issues early and offer you treatments if you need them to prevent vision loss from diabetes.