If you have diabetes, you know controlling your blood sugar is important to your overall health. Here are 5 things you may not know about diabetes and your eyes:
- Most major eye diseases from diabetes take five to ten years to develop
Just because five to ten years sounds like it’s down the road, it doesn’t mean your eyes are safe until then. You won’t notice symptoms early on, which is why it is important to get your eyes checked regularly.
- Twice as likely to develop cataracts than other adults
Cataracts develop faster in people with diabetes. The eye’s lens becomes cloudy because of a build-up of cells and protein due to high blood sugar levels.
- Women who become pregnant are at high risk for diabetic retinopathy and vision loss
Get an eye exam early in the pregnancy and then continue as your ophthalmologist recommends. It’s possible to develop diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes); however, having gestational diabetes is not usually a risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. It’s still suggested to get an eye exam.
- Diabetes can cause double vision
Double vision or diplopia can occur when diabetes causes damage to the body’s circulation and paralyzes the muscles that move the eyes. The eyes work together and if one or more of the muscles don’t work properly, that’s a problem. The brain will receive two images instead of one, causing double vision. Controlling blood sugar levels and taking diabetes medicine as prescribed can help prevent or resolve the problem.
- More likely to get eye infections
Diabetes can affect the body’s immune system and thus lower the body’s ability to fight infection. It will be easier to get conjunctivitis (pink eye) and other eye infections. To prevent eye infections, maintain your blood sugar levels, wash your hands and do not touch your eyes.