In EyeCare Blog

How much of an impact can diabetes have on your vision? If you lose vision, will it come back? Why do I see black spots in my vision? All of these are great questions for people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, there is a possibility your vision could change. The longer you have diabetes, the greater the probability of vision changes.

Diabetic retinopathy can affect half of people with diabetes. This includes type 1, type 2, and gestational.

You can monitor your eyes and vision for changes with regular eye exams. If you have never had any issues with diabetic retinopathy, yearly exams are a great start. It’s also important to work with your endocrinologist to maintain good blood sugar levels (A1C and fasting blood sugar). 

Early stages of diabetic retinopathy are asymptomatic. You may notice things become blurry, but it can come and go. In later stages, the blood vessels in the eye can start to bleed. This can cause spots in your vision. These spots can clear up, but future bleeding can lead to more serious vision changes, maybe even permanent vision loss.

Longer periods of time with uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to swelling in the center of your vision, called diabetic macular edema. This could require eye injections or laser treatment. Retinal detachments can also happen, as well as neovascular glaucoma. Neovascular glaucoma is the result of abnormal blood vessel growth. This can block the fluid in the eye from draining properly and the pressure will increase.

Your eye doctor will perform a dilated retinal exam to evaluate the blood vessels in your eye. They will check your glasses prescription to make sure there aren’t large changes that can be associated with changing blood sugar levels. If you have retinopathy, they may want to see you back sooner than 1 year. It is also important to relay these results to your primary care physician and endocrinologist.

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