Diabetes and blurred vision are a combo disease you must stay away from. The reason being that the hybrid can be the core cause of many other sight-threatening conditions. We’ll get to know more about them, including how specialists help diagnose and treat the combo of diabetes and blurred vision. But before that, let’s get a clear brief on what Diabetes really is.
What is diabetes mellitus?
In simple words, it's a metabolic disease that causes your blood sugar levels to rise. This condition happens because of a hormone called insulin. Insulin is the hormone that is in charge of handling the sugar you consume or the sugar that the body makes. However, if there is not enough production of insulin or your body is insensitive to it and can’t recognise it, the sugar has nowhere to go. Then the sugar starts mixing up with the blood causing high blood sugar or diabetes.
But how can this cause trouble for your vision? Well, the chaos caused by high sugar in the blood can leak in and out of the eyes, causing the natural lens that you have to swell. This swelling makes it difficult for the lens to focus. Yes, precisely the way cameras do. With this difficulty, all your eyes get to see is a blurry image. This haziness is a result of rising blood sugar and is temporary in most cases. As soon as the blood sugar drops, the swelling fades away, the natural lens of our eyes gets back into its original shape, ready to focus on anything and everything.
However, when you do experience blurred vision, it is essential to note that it may be one of the first symptoms of any sight-threatening disease. Which one? Let’s get to know the possible ones.
Whether it’s a camera lens or our eyes' natural lens, it needs to be clear to capture clear images. But the disease we are talking about here does not keep it clear. The protein that makes our eyes along with water clumps together and clouds our lenses. This cloudy layer is what creates blurred vision. If you observe other symptoms like double vision, sensitivity towards glare, or faded colours, there’s a high chance you have a cataract. While it usually happens to old people, if you have diabetes, you are more susceptible to it, and it can reach you faster.
Do not worry, however. Specialists can treat Cataracts by small incision surgery or extracapsular surgery. The surgery involves replacing your damaged natural lens with an artificial one.
Also, some myths state that cataracts can come back. The fact is that they cannot come back once treated because artificial eye lenses do not react to the fluid or cause high blood sugar.
The disease results because of pressure build-up. This happens inside your eyes when the eye’s fluid isn’t able to drain like it usually does. When it does not drain fast, the nerves and blood vessels get damaged and cause blurry vision.
If not treated at an earlier stage of the disease, it may even lead to vision loss. Thus it is important to lower the pressure on the eyes and fasten up the drainage of the fluid. The doctor may even try to reduce the production of the fluid that the eye makes.
All this is possible because of medicines, surgery, laser treatments and eye drops. So, you don’t have to worry much about treatment. Although, it is crucial to find it early.
That’s why if you have a blurry vision be on the lookout for other symptoms of glaucoma like headaches, watery eyes, halos, and pain. The worst case is vision loss.
Now with diabetes, the pressure build-up happens pretty fast. That’s why diabetics are highly predisposed to Glaucoma. To add to this, diabetics are more receptive to a rare type of glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma. The disease tends to form new blood cells in the eye. They grow on the iris and block the flow of the fluid, thus raising pressure on the eye.
Laser surgery and anti-VEGF injection can help treat this by reducing the growth of the cells and decreasing the pressure.
The significant role of showing you the images of the world is of the retina. It resides at the back of your eye and makes images according to the signals the optic nerve sends.
High blood sugar levels among many other reasons can cause damage to the retina. This damage can cause the blood vessels to leak into your eye and create blotches that hamper your vision. The eyes try to recover by forming new blood vessels, but they too leak through the fluid eventually, causing more trouble. We call the disease by the name of Diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetes for say 5 years then a lot of damage has been done compared to if you have it for 2 years. The crux is to get yourself tested every now and then. Because the sooner you can diagnose diabetic retinopathy, the easier it is to treat. Although, if you have Type 1 diabetes, which is rare, you might not see any symptoms. Type 2 diabetes, however, shows symptoms in the form of minor eye problems.
If not treated this may turn into DME (Diabetic Macular Edema) in which the fluid collects on the central part of the eye which is called the macula. It’s the macula which plays a major role in helping you read, drive, and do other activities. The fluid accumulation builds up the pressure on the eye which not only causes blurry vision but may eventually cause vision loss. A symptom is swelling in the eye. The disease is also known as maculopathy.
Other terms used with diabetic retinopathy are background retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy.
Background retinopathy is not quite serious, as the blood vessels get destroyed but you can still see fine.
In proliferative retinopathy, the retina cells at the back do not get enough oxygen because of which the new cells that form start bleeding. They can cause a clot, which can further pull your retina and may detach it from the back. If detached you may experience vision loss that is untreatable. But, if diagnosed early, surgery may be able to help.
Diabetes and blurred vision diagnosis
It is not difficult to check if you have blurred vision. You will be unable to focus and see clearly even after many attempts. You can check for diabetes with blood sugar levels which you need to measure before the meals and after a couple of hours of eating.
But to diagnose further i.e., cataracts, retinopathy, and glaucoma, you will have to meet a specialist and get a comprehensive eye test done. Remember the early the diagnosis happens, the more are your chances of getting treated.
For cataracts, the doctor will ask you loads of questions. Then he will determine how cataract is affecting your vision. Afterwards, he will do a refraction test by checking your prescriptions. Next, the doctor evaluates your natural eye lens and checks with magnification for the presence of any cataracts. Later the pressure on the eyes is measured. Finally, testing for glare and colour vision takes place to complete the diagnosis. The results from all these mini-tests help the doctor confirm whether you have cataracts or not. And if you do, does it have anything to do with diabetes.
For glaucoma, the process of diagnosis usually starts with checking the pressure of the eye. Then the drainage angle of the fluid is checked. Next, the doctor examines your optic nerve and also tests your peripheral vision to see if it's infected. Lastly, the specialist measures your optic nerve and then the cornea for its thickness.
For diabetic retinopathy, the doctor first checks for the blood vessels, especially the ones that are abnormal. Plus, the growth of new ones, any resulting scars, swelling or blood deposits on the retina. He also checks for bleeding if any in the central portion of the eye. It is crucial to check if the retina is stable at its position or detached and also if the optic nerve is fine or has any issues with it. However, before all this, the doctor may certainly check for cataracts after testing your vision and the pressure of the eye.
So, now you know how doctors diagnose possible serious conditions. But can they be treated?
Diabetes and blurred vision treatment
Yes, in most cases diabetes and vision improvement is possible. Especially if the cause is not as serious as cataracts, retinopathy, and glaucoma. All you need to do is keep your blood sugar levels in check. The target should be to keep your blood sugar around 70 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL before taking meals and around 180 mg/dL after a couple of hours of taking meals.
- Apart from making sure your blood sugar levels are normal, you can take small steps like
- Taking regular time off away from the screens.
- Using prescribed eye drops.
- Protecting your eyes from the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays.
- Getting standard eye checkups done regularly.
- Doing exercises or yoga including poses and pranayama for the eyes.
Finally, if all this doesn’t work, then it is very likely that you have a serious condition like the ones mentioned above. For those, only a specialist will be able to prescribe you the best way of treatment. He might suggest some medications in the beginning. If they don’t work, he may further suggest some surgeries or laser treatment that can take away the pressure on your eyes and help you get rid of the hazy vision.
When to see the doctor?
Most people complain of blurred vision after eating something, especially something sweet. No, you don’t need to get a new pair of prescription glasses. What you need is to lower your blood sugar levels. That is possible by doing a bit of exercise and eating something like a bitter gourd to balance the sugar in the blood.
Yet, if the problem persists, you may also start getting headaches, then you must go and visit the doctor for a comprehensive eye test.
Additionally, you may experience holes or black spots in your sight, and flashes of light as serious symptoms. They are another set of reasons to visit the doctor.
Once diagnosed, you must visit them to check up in the first 5 years if it is type 1 diabetes. In the case of type 2 diabetes and blurred vision, you must get a full eye test right after getting diagnosed.
Finally, if you are pregnant or going to be soon, then also you must get a full dilated eye test done to keep your health in check. Because gestational diabetes and blurred vision is certainly a bad combo if not for you, for your child.
Some patients complain of blurred vision right after getting up in the morning. Well, there’s not much to worry about them as they might be caused due to other reasons like sleeping with your contact lenses on or some allergy. A few home remedies like washing your eyes and doing cold, warm compresses should be helpful.
Hope you got a lot of your answers about diabetes and blurred vision, the further diagnosis and treatment required as well. If yes, it's time for you to get an all-encompassing eye test done. At Specscart stores we do it free of charge for you. Also, most blurry eyes are a result of less care done for your eyes.
Make sure you take good care of your eyes by protecting them against the blue light and UV light that are pretty harmful to them. You can opt for digital blue light protection lenses available at Specscart at an affordable price. Don’t forget, all sunglasses at Specscart have uv400 and polarized lenses. Plus, the glasses have anti-glare, anti-UV, and scratch-resistant coatings for protection.
Get going! Choose your frames and lenses right away to promise your eyes lifelong health and protection.