Risk Factors For Diabetic Retinopathy
Anyone with type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop it. These factors can also increase your risk:
- Blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels that are too high.
- Race/ethnicity: African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives are at higher risk.
If you have diabetic retinopathy, low-vision aids such as magnifying glasses and special lenses can help. Ask your eye doctor to refer you to a low-vision specialistexternal icon.
Be Ready To Treat Low Blood Sugar
Mild low blood sugar can be treated with fruit juice, glucose tablets, and hard candies. If youre prone to low blood sugar or take insulin, keep these things on hand at home, in your car, at work, and while out exercising.
More severe low blood sugar is treated with a glucagon injection. Glucagon is a hormone that helps raise your blood sugar. You need a prescription for glucagon, which is an injectable medication.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Eye Problems From Diabetes
Having a full, dilated eye exam is the best way to check for eye problems from diabetes. Your doctor will place drops in your eyes to widen your pupils. This allows the doctor to examine a larger area at the back of each eye, using a special magnifying lens. Your vision will be blurry for a few hours after a dilated exam.
Your doctor will also
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Type 2 Diabetes And Cataracts
Type 2 diabetics have significantly more cataracts than non-diabetics, and those with higher HbA1c levels have a higher rate of cataracts than those with good control of their diabetes.
Cataracts are lenses that have become opaque. Your lenses are made of neatly arranged protein molecules and water that allow light to pass through them. Cataracts become opaque to light when the protein molecules form clumps.
The American Academy of Ophthalmologists, estimates that over 22 million Americans aged 40 and above have cataracts related to diabetes. By the age of 80, more than 50 percent of Americans are diagnosed with cataracts.
According to the World Health Organization, cataracts are the main cause of blindness in middle and upper income countries where Western diets and the risk for Type 2 diabetes is prevalent.
How Can I Protect My Eyes If I Have Diabetes
The best way to prevent diabetes-related eye problems is to manage your blood sugar levels. Remember, the longer your sugar is high, the more likely you are to experience these complications.
Here are a few other tips to help you protect your eyes:
Visit an eye doctor once a year so they can dilate your pupils and check your retinas. This will help them catch problems sooner.
Wear sunglasses that offer protection from UVA and UVB rays . Exposure to these harmful rays of the sun can speed up cataract development and worsen macular problems.
If you have high blood pressure, follow your doctors recommendations to lower it. High blood pressure can increase the pressure in your eyes, worsening glaucoma.
Stop smoking. Smoking causes damage to your blood vessels, which can make all of these eye problems worse.
If you notice any vision changes or any unusual symptoms with your eyes see a doctor as soon as possible. You only have one pair of eyes. Take the best care of them you can!
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What Blood Sugar Levels Cause Blurred Vision
High blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell, which changes your ability to see.
To correct this kind of blurred vision, you need to get your blood sugar back into the target range.
For many people this is from70 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after the start of a meal..
Symptoms Of Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic retinopathy causes blood vessel damage in the retina. Left untreated, it can cause vision loss and can develop into DME.
Approximately 40% to 45% of patients with diabetes have symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, though many don’t notice it. Symptoms can include:
- Blurry vision
- Faded, washed out appearance of colors
- Blank or dark areas in your field of vision
Diabetic macular edema is a build-up of fluid in the center of the retina, or the macula. This part of the eye is responsible for sharp vision and most of our color vision. Symptoms can include:
- Blurry or wavy vision in the center of your field of vision
- Noticing colors appear faded or washed out
Both forms of diabetic eye disease are treatable. Types of treatment and effectiveness depend on the severity of the condition.
At UT Southwestern, we take a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and treat diabetic eye disease. If we detect diabetes-related eye symptoms and you have been diagnosed with diabetes, we can recommend that you follow up with your endocrinologist or primary care doctor.
If we see signs of eye damage but you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, we can refer you to a diabetes expert at UT Southwestern. The ophthalmology team works closely with our endocrinology doctors and nurses to make sure you have the treatment and information you need to reduce your risks.
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Causes & Risk Factors
Diabetic retinopathy results from the damage diabetes causes to the small blood vessels located in the retina. These damaged blood vessels can cause vision loss:
- Fluid can leak into the macula, the area of the retina responsible for clear central vision. Although small, the macula is the part of the retina that allows us to see colors and fine detail. The fluid causes the macula to swell, resulting in blurred vision.
- In an attempt to improve blood circulation in the retina, new blood vessels may form on its surface. These fragile, abnormal blood vessels can leak blood into the back of the eye and block vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is classified into two types.
Progression Of Diabetic Retinopathy
Retinopathy can worsen over time. Broadly, there are two stages.
Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy
Also known as background retinopathy, this is the early stage, with mild or no symptoms.
At this stage, the retinas tiny blood vessels may become weak and blocked. There may be bulges in them, or fluid can leak out. This can cause swelling in the central part of the retina.
NPDR can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how serious the blood vessel problem is.
Swelling in the retinaor macula edemacan cause vision problems. This is because it is the central part in the back of the eye that allows people to see fine details clearly.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy
This is an advanced stage of eye complications. Blood vessels cannot deliver blood to the retina effectively, because they have closed up. New vessels start to grow to compensate for this. This stage only develops in some people with diabetes. It takes several years to develop.
The growth of new blood vessels does not provide normal blood flow to the retina, however, and it can lead to scarring and wrinkling. In severe cases, it can distort a persons vision. The retina can even become detached, causing a loss of vision.
The fragile new vessels can also bleed out. Symptoms include floating spots in the vision. If a bleed from the retina into the central fluid of the eye is big, a person can sometimes lose sight in that eye. After this, they will only be able to tell light from dark.
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Do You Suffer From Blurry Vision
Blurred or out of focus vision or any rapid changes to your vision can be an early sign of diabetes. Surprisingly, your diabetes related blurry vision could be caused by any of these factors:
- Hyperglycemia High blood sugar levels can cause fluid shifts and swelling of your eyes which moves the lens closer to or away from the retina, causing blurred vision.
- HypoglycemiaLow blood sugar levels cause changes in your brain, preventing your ability to focus.
- Rising and falling blood sugar levels. Fluctuating blood sugar levels can cause fluctuating vision as your eye changes in size and distance from lens to retina.
- Your body adjusting to a new insulin or a new dosage of insulin. New insulin levels or new medications may cause shrinking and swelling leading to vision changes.
If the underlying causes are identified and addressed, these vision changes are relatively short term and temporary. However, uncontrolled diabetes or chronic hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia can lead to permanent damage to your vision.
The Keto Diet And Blurry Vision
A popular eating plan for weight loss, this extremely low-carb, high-fat diet plan alters the balance of macronutrients to force the body into a metabolic state called ketosis, in which it uses fat for fuel, Palinski-Wade says.
Dialing back on carbohydrates can have a major impact on the amount of sugar in your blood. “A keto diet provides very few carbohydrates, the macronutrient easiest to convert into glucose in the body,” Palinski-Wade notes. “When you eat few carbs, your blood sugar can lower as well.”
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Still, Palinski-Wade says blurry vision on the keto diet is unlikely for most people. However, you’ll need to be more careful if you have diabetes. Research published in May 2018 in the journal Diabetic Medicine showed that although the keto diet often improves blood sugar control in people with type 1 diabetes, it can result in a high number of hypoglycemic episodes.
According to Mayo Clinic, blurred vision can be a sign of worsening hypoglycemia, which is a fasting blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter or below.
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How Do I Treat An Episode Of Hypoglycemia
The American Diabetes Association recommends the 15-15 rule for an episode of hypoglycemia:
- Eat or drink 15 grams of carbs to raise your blood sugar.
- After 15 minutes, check your blood sugar.
- If its still below 70 mg/dL, have another 15 grams of carbs.
- Repeat until your blood sugar is at least 70 mg/dL.
If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia but cant test your blood sugar, use the 15-15 rule until you feel better.
Note: Children need fewer grams of carbs. Check with your healthcare provider.
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:
- Get a diabetic eye exam. Your eye doctor will place drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils and observe the health of your retinas. This can help catch issues early. 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.
- 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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What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetic Eye Disease
Often there are no early symptoms of diabetic eye disease. You may have no pain and no change in your vision as damage begins to grow inside your eyes, particularly with diabetic retinopathy.
When symptoms do occur, they may include
- blurry or wavy vision
- frequently changing visionsometimes from day to day
- dark areas or vision loss
- poor color vision
- spots or dark strings
- flashes of light
Talk with your eye doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
The Effects Of Dieting On Vision
Carrots aside, it may seem strange that what you eat could affect how well you see, but there’s a scientific reason behind the diet-vision connection. Vision changes from eating too little have to do with the level of glucose, or sugar, in your blood.
“Glucose is the main source of energy to the brain. When blood sugar drops too low, the brain isn’t getting steady energy and therefore cannot function as normal and may lead to an impairment in vision,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCDS, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist in Sparta, New Jersey.
Fortunately, blurry vision from low blood sugar isn’t likely to cause permanent damage. “This change is temporary and resolves as soon as blood sugar is back in the normal range,” Palinski-Wade says.
Another potential cause of blurry vision on a low-calorie diet is dehydration. If you’re not eating a lot, you may not be getting enough fluid.
“Dehydration can trigger eye strain, which in turn can lead to tired eyes and blurry vision,” Palinski-Wade says. “Since the brain is made up mostly of water, dehydration can also impair mental function, which in turn can impair vision in a similar way low blood sugar can. This is temporary and restored once hydration is back to a normal level.”
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How Can I Be Better Prepared For Hypoglycemia
You can take some steps to be ready for hypoglycemia:
- Be aware of the symptoms and treat them early.
- Carry some fast-acting carbs with you all the time.
- Check your glucose levels frequently, especially around meals and exercise.
- Inform family, friends and co-workers so they know what do if you need help.
- Talk to your healthcare provider regularly to make and update your plan.
- Wear a medical bracelet that lets people know you have diabetes. Carry a card in your purse or wallet with instructions for hypoglycemia.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hypoglycemia is quite common in people with diabetes. If not treated, it can cause troubling symptoms, and even serious health problems. Fortunately, you can avoid hypoglycemic episodes by monitoring your blood sugar. You can also make small adjustments to eating and exercising routines.
How Diabetes Can Impact The Eyes
Diabetic retinopathy describes retinal disorders that are caused by diabetes, including proliferative retinopathy and macular edema.
Proliferative retinopathy refers to a condition where blood vessels leak into the corner of the eye. Macular edema happens when leaking fluid causes the macula to swell.
Glaucoma can also cause blurry vision, and diabetes increases the risk for it. Pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve. In the earliest phases, there often are not any noticeable symptoms, which are why regular screening examinations are so important. Here are a few symptoms to watch for between screening examinations:
- Halos around lights
- Feelings of nausea or even vomiting
- Eye pain
Diabetes also increased the risk for cataracts, and blurry vision is also one of the first symptoms.
As described, there are multiple ways that diabetes can cause blurry vision, but not all blurry vision is the result of diabetes. Other causes include:
- Low blood pressure
- Digital eye strain from too much time at a computer
- Immune system diseases like multiple sclerosis and lupus
If you have an unexplained blurry vision, contact your eye doctor.
This also happens to be just one of many reasons why annual eye examinations are so crucial for many patients. Be sure to follow the recommended frequency of examinations for your age group or according to your doctor or optometrists recommendations.
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Regular Diabetes Eye Checks
A regular doctor or optician does not carry out the annual eye check for people with diabetes.
Instead, optometrist or an eye doctorcalled an ophthalmologistperforms this specialist examination.
An eye doctor can then treat any problems that they find. Only ophthalmologists can treat a disease of the retina.
The specialist looks at the back of the eyethe retinaafter making the pupil bigger with a drug delivered in eyedrops.
This is the dilated eye exam, and it detects the signs of diabetic retinopathy, a disease of the retina that results from diabetes.
If a person already has diabetic eye problems, the person will need multiple follow-up checks every year.
During pregnancy, a person should have more regular checks.
When Should One See A Doctor
Blurry Vision and Vertigo together can indicate a serious medical condition. Some people complain that My Eyes Hurt and I Feel Dizzy, if anyone feels like same then one should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
However, if your symptoms are mild and only last for a short period or youve been diagnosed with migraine. Then you should see a doctor or a Vertigo Specialist immediately.
Therefore, if looking for a Vertigo Specialist in Patna then one must contact with Dr. A P Shah.
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What Causes Temporary Blindness In One Eye
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions in which fluid builds up in your eye causing gradual vision loss. Ocular migraine usually refers to a type of migraine that can cause temporary blindness in one eye. Retinal detachment causes floaters in your vision, flashes of light, blind spots, loss of vision, and more.
Concussion Or Brain Injury
Injuries to the brain range from concussions to traumatic brain injuries and can be caused by sporting accidents, car accidents, falls and more. Brain and head injuries can cause varying symptoms depending on the severity of the injury blurred vision and dizziness are among these.
Any head injury that causes distorted vision should be treated as an emergency and cared for at the ER or at an urgent care facility.
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