If you’ve been living with diabetes for quite some time, you would understand what is involved in managing your diabetes under the team care arrangement with your GP. Depending on how your diabetes is going, it may involve several specialists, medical professions and allied health professionals supporting you through this journey. Diabetes, if not managed appropriately, has multiple effects on our overall health.
Understanding Diabetes and Your Eyes
The effects of increased blood sugar levels and the inability to regulate them can damage your blood vessels. It affects finer vessels in our body, such as the ones found in your retina. Your retina is the part of the body where your optometrist in Canberra can visually see how these delicate blood vessels are naturally in their environment. This provides a considerable advantage in monitoring your diabetes by having regular eye examinations with your optometrist in Canberra.
How Diabetes Affect Your Eye Health and Vision
Excessive sugar in your blood damages fine blood vessels, especially the delicate ones that supply the retina. If the blood sugar levels aren’t well controlled, it can start to compromise the structure of the retinal vessels causing them to weaken. This weakening of the fine retinal vessels can cause areas of the blood vessel to balloon outwards, causing a tiny aneurysm or microaneurysm. Microaneurysm findings are not uncommon in patients with diabetes for an extended period. If the blood sugar levels are well controlled, the rate at which these aneurysms would decrease or even reduce in size and number.
If these microaneurysms burst, it can create a retinal haemorrhage. Depending on the area of the bleeding, it can affect central or peripheral vision areas. Uncontrolled diabetes could also allow your retinal vessels to become leakier over time, especially around the macular region. Our macula is the region in our eyes responsible for central and colour vision. If this area is compromised due to uncontrol diabetes, your central vision could be patchy and constantly blurry as these fluids accumulate between layers of the retina.
Not only could diabetes have a direct impact on your vision, but it can also have an impact on structures that surround your eyes, such as your eyelids and even pupil sizes. Patients with chronic diabetes may develop neurological issues affecting the natural positioning of their eyelids or pupil size. Eye infections and eye irritation also could take longer to heal for patients with diabetes.
The Bottom Line
The direct impact of diabetes on our ocular health, such as our retinal vessels and vision, increases our risks for other eye diseases, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Therefore it is essential to have your eyes tested and see your optometrist in Canberra regularly not only to rule out diabetic retinopathy but other eye diseases which could be exacerbated by diabetes.
At Capital Eye, using the latest diagnostic technology, we can detect these retinal changes caused by diabetes before they affect your vision. If you are a patient with diabetes or newly diagnosed with diabetes, it is crucial to check your eyes every 12 months. Seeing your optometrist in Canberra annually is vital to your diabetes management. At Capital Eye, we report our findings to your GP to assist them with your ongoing diabetic management. If you haven’t seen your optometrist in the last 12 months, consider making an appointment to have your eyes tested today.