Diabetic Eye Diseases : Complications, Risk Factors And Prevention Tips

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Having diabetes has adverse effects on our body.

One of the worst complications is the number of possible diabetic eye diseases that it may inflict.

Diabetes is one of the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. 

In United States, the American Diabetes Association estimates that 20 million Americans have diabetes. In Singapore, every 1 out of 9 people has diabetes.

If you have diabetes and noticed yourself having blurry eyesight, don’t rush to get a set of glasses fixed.

Instead, you should check out with your doctor immediately as your vision problems could be a result of your diabetes.

Daily routine of a diabetic patient

Diabetes happens when your body isn't capable of producing sufficient insulin hormones or because your body isn't reacting properly to the insulin produced due to reduced effect, or both.

Insulin is a natural hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

They help to regulates the glucose level in our blood

Glucose is an important source of energy we get from our food but when in high quantity, they are bad for our body.

If you have diabetes, your body cannot cope in the usual way with sugar and other carbohydrates that you eat. 

Thus resulting in abnormally high sugar (glucose) level in the blood.




Types Of Diabetes

Diabetes generally is classified as two types:


Type 1 diabetes

A less common form of diabetes.

When you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you are considered insulin-dependent because your body isn’t capable of producing enough insulin.

You will need injections or other medications to supply the insulin your body. 

You are in higher risk of getting type 1 diabetes, if you have any of the following:

  • Injury or diseases of pancreas
  • Family history of people with type 1 diabetes


Type 2 diabetes

Most cases are this type of diabetes. When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you generally are considered non-insulin-dependent or insulin-resistant.

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You are producing enough insulin but your body does not react to it (resistant). 

Your body then compensates by producing even more insulin, which overworks your pancreas and can cause an accompanying abnormal increase in blood sugar levels.

You are in higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, if you have any of the following:

  • Older than 45 years
  • Obesity or overweight 
  • Family history of diabetes
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • HDL cholesterol under 35 mg/dL
  • Excess fat (especially around the waist)
  • Inactive lifestyle (exercising less than 3 times a week)
  • High blood pressure (greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg)
  • High blood levels of triglycerides, a type of fat molecule (250 mg/dL or more)


Diabetic Eye Problems 

High blood sugar levels can cause the lens in your eye to change and develop lenticular astigmatism.

You will notice blurring of vision until your blood sugar level is lowered. 

If the diabetes is uncontrolled, it can result in blurring of vision which comes and goes over the day depending on your blood sugar levels. 

Others symptoms may include:




Diabetic Eye Diseases

Diabetes lowers your resistance to infection as it affects autoimmune system. If you have diabetes, you are are more likely to get bacterial infections, including pink eye and styes.

Other more sight threatening diabetes eye diseases include:


Diabetes And Cataracts

Clouded natural lens

Cataract is the clouding on our natural lens.

This cloud obstructs light into our eyes and may cause blindness until the cataract is removed

Even though anyone can get cataracts, people with diabetes develop cataracts at an earlier age and the condition progresses more rapidly than people with diabetes.


Diabetes And Glaucoma

Glaucoma happens when too much pressure is built up in the eye and it damages the optic nerve.

Pressure builds up when fluid inside the eye isn't not drain properly.

People with diabetes are also more likely to get an uncommon type of glaucoma, called neovascular glaucoma.

In this form of glaucoma new blood vessels grow on the iris, the colored part of the eye.

These blood vessels block the normal flow of fluid out of the eye, raising the eye pressure to critical level and damages the optic nerve. 


Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of permanent blindness in developed countries.

It is the most serious complication of diabetes for the eye. It involves the network of blood vessels supplying the retina. 

The retina layer at the back of the eyeball that contains a group of specialized cells that is responsible for converting light that enters the lens into images.

Diabetes affects these tiny blood vessels of the eye and the high level of blood sugar may cause them to become blocked or leak and affects your vision.

Depends on the severity of the leakage, it can lead to blindness unless treatment is taken immediately.


Preventing Diabetes Eye Diseases

You can reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes by just taking some simple changes to your lifestyle.


Control Your Weight 

Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight.

Remove those circled areas

Just losing 10 percent of your current weight can cut the chance you get diabetes by half.

Consider doing Shaun T's Insanity Workout if you are really interested in losing weight fast.

The workout is pure cardio and totally insane!


Moderate Alcohol Consumption 

Alcohol may help in reducing the risks of getting diabetes.

The keyword here is Moderation.


Stop Smoking 

Smokers are 50 percent higher in getting diabetes than non-smokers and smoking increases the chance of you getting cancer and heart attack.

Why puff your life away.


Get Off The Couch 

Get Off The Couch

Start moving around.

Go for a walk, swim or play with your children.

Inactivity prompts diabetes.

You don’t have to pant like a dog just leisure walks of 20 minutes daily can provide tremendous benefits.


Improve Your Dietary Habit 

Reduce food that are high in sugar and processed carbohydrates. Include more vegetables, eye food, fruits, whole grains and white meats.

We are what we eat.

For maximum protection of your eyes, consider taking eye vitamins.

They are like your Spartans reinforcement in the battle against blood vessel oxidation.


Related Readings:

› Diabetes Eye Diseases