Diabetic Eye Disease: How to Spot the Signs Early

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests that people with diabetes go for regular diabetic eye exams. This is the most effective way to spot early signs of diabetic eye disease. Early detection equals early treatment. Here are the details about how to detect the signs of diabetic eye disease. 



Who is at High Risk?


Research reveals that patients with diabetes can develop diabetic eye disease. Clinical data show that your risk increases if you do not receive treatments for your high blood pressure and high blood glucose. High cholesterol levels can also increase your risk of getting this eye condition. Pregnant diabetes patients can develop diabetic eye disease. Your diabetic eye disease can worsen during your pregnancy as well. 



What are the Symptoms?


Studies show that diabetic eye disease often does not have symptoms. You may not experience changes in your vision. It may not cause pain as damage starts inside your eyes. Here are some symptoms of diabetic eye disease:


  • Light flashes

  • Wavy or blurry vision

  • Dark strings or spots, also known as floaters

  • Constant changing of vision

  • Poor color vision

  • Vision loss or dark areas



Detecting Diabetic Eye Disease Early


It is ideal to see your eye doctor right away if you experience sudden vision changes, such as floaters and flashes of light. Doing so can also help if you see what looks like a curtain covering your eyes. This may indicate a detached retina, which is an eye emergency. 


Your eye doctor will perform a dilated eye exam. This will involve applying dilating eye drops that will enlarge your pupils, allowing your eye doctor to see the back of your eye. Expect to have blurry vision after your dilated eye exam. Your eye doctor will measure your intraocular pressure or IOP. 


Testing your vision will also happen. There could be other tests as well. The tests you must have will depend on your current health history. If you have diabetes, you must have an eye check every year for a comprehensive eye exam.



Eye Exam Guidelines


Type 1 diabetic patients must have yearly exams. The eye checks must start within five years of your diagnosis. Type 2 diabetic patients must begin right after the diagnosis. Clinical data show that pregnant women with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes will need an eye exam before pregnancy. Another eye exam is necessary within the first three months of the pregnancy. Your eye doctor may ask you to get this exam again late in your pregnancy. It should continue until your baby reaches a year old. 



How Diabetes Results in Eye Disease


Studies reveal that diabetes can impact your eyesight if your blood sugar levels get too high. You may not suffer from vision loss from a short-term rise in blood glucose levels. Because high blood glucose levels cause inflammation, you can experience blurry vision for days or even weeks. With proper care and diabetes medications, your blood sugar levels can go back to normal levels. The treatment may bring back your clear vision. 


Having diabetes for a long time can damage the blood vessels behind your eyes. The damage can start during the prediabetes stage. The damaged blood vessels may leak blood and fluids. This can result in swelling. 


Medical scientists explain that new but weaker blood vessels can also start to form. They can bleed into the middle part of your eyes and start to build up. When they do, they cause damage and scarring. This can increase the pressure inside your eye and cause even more damage. Here are the diabetic eye diseases that start to develop and put your vision at risk:


  • Glaucoma

  • Diabetic retinopathy

  • Cataracts

  • Diabetic macular edema


Spotting diabetic eye disease early can result in early treatments. At Modern EyeCare, we help our patients achieve better eye health with our effective eye care treatments and products. You can drop by our facility in Norwalk, Connecticut, for an in-person consultation. Please call 203-902-7200 to set an appointment or inquire about our diabetic eye disease diagnosis and treatment packages.