As you may already know, controlling your blood glucose is important for avoiding hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia—blood glucose lows and highs.
By keeping your blood glucose in your target range, you may delay or prevent long-term diabetes complications. High blood glucose can damage many parts of your body, including your eyes, heart and toes. The good news is that you, along with your healthcare professional, may be able to lessen or even prevent the impact of diabetes complications on your life.
These pages list some of the more common diabetes-related complications, their symptoms and treatments, and some steps your healthcare professional may recommend to help reduce your risk.
People with diabetes are at higher risk for several types of eye disease, including retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. Any of these diseases can lead to blindness over time. Early detection is the key to avoiding or lessening the risk of these diseases.
Retinopathy, the most common eye disease in people with diabetes, is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the retina. In some cases, these vessels may swell and leak fluid. This is called nonproliferative or background retinopathy.
As these areas heal, scarring occurs and abnormal new blood vessels may grow on the retina's surface, causing vision loss or blindness. This is called proliferative retinopathy and has more serious consequences. Unfortunately, some level of retinopathy is common, especially in people who have had diabetes for many years. However, with good blood glucose control, it does not have to affect your vision.
Cataracts cloud the lens of the eye. They are often an early complication of diabetes. An annual eye examination can help detect cataracts before they become severe.
Glaucoma is an increased pressure in the fluid inside the eye. This can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss. Glaucoma is more common in people with type 2 diabetes.
Reducing Your Risk for Eye Disease
Taking a few important steps may greatly reduce your risk of diabetes-related eye disease.
Control your blood glucose. As average blood glucose levels rise, so does the risk of retinopathy. Typically, the better a person's blood glucose control, the slower the onset and progression of retinopathy. Proper control may also decrease your chance of getting cataracts.
Reduce your blood pressure. High blood pressure may increase the risk of retinopathy.
Stop smoking. Smoking raises your risk of cataracts and many other diabetes-related complications.
Get an annual dilated-eye examamination. People with diabetic eye disease often have no symptoms or pain until a disease becomes advanced. Your healthcare professional can detect retinopathy before you have any vision problems. A dilated-eye exam lets your healthcare professional examine the blood vessels in the back of the eye. The earlier retinopathy is diagnosed, the better your chances for preventing further damage to your eyes.
You can get further information on Eye Diseases in the following links: