November is Diabetic Awareness Month! We probably all have our own reaction to this disease and know at least something about its effects – it is a disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. But did you know that diabetes also can have devastating effects on your eyes and vision? Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause damage in many parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys, blood vessels and the small blood vessels in the eyes. South Georgia / North Florida Eye Partners encourages everyone to have annual eye exams, but for those patients with diabetes – these yearly exams can be critical in preventing vision loss.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
When the blood vessels in the eye’s retina (the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye) swell, leak or close off completely — or if abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina — it is called diabetic retinopathy.
People who are at greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy are those who have diabetes or poor blood sugar control, women who are pregnant, and people with high blood pressure, high blood lipids or both. Also, people who are from certain ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, are more likely to develop diabetic eye. In fact, a new study confirms that diabetes is a top risk factor for vision loss among the Hispanic population.
Diabetes can cause vision in your eyes to change even if you do not have retinopathy. If your blood sugar levels change quickly, it can affect the shape of your eye’s lens, causing blurry vision, which goes back to normal after your blood sugar stabilizes.
Understanding how diabetes can affect vision and taking the time for regular check-ups should be on the must-do list for people who are living with diabetes.
Ready for an eye doctor who is in tune with the needs of diabetic patients? Give South Georgia | North Florida Eye Partners a call today. With offices in Valdosta, Douglas, Tifton, Moultrie, Waycross and Madison, Florida, Eye Partners is equipped to perform comprehensive eye exams close to where you live. We also perform more extensive procedures and surgeries such as cataract surgery, LASIK and glaucoma treatment in our surgery center in Valdosta. Call or visit us today to make an appointment!