Diabetes is a disease that prevents your body from making or using insulin which in turn leads to increased sugar levels in your bloodstream. Diabetes and its complications can cause changes in nearsightedness, farsightedness, and premature presbyopia. It can also result in cataracts, glaucoma, paralysis of the nerves that control the eye muscles or pupil, and diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels in the retina of your eye, resulting in blood leakage, the growth of new blood vessels, and other changes. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness.
Visual symptoms of diabetes can also include fluctuating or blurring of vision, occasional double vision, loss of visual field, and floaters within the eyes.
In a comprehensive eye examination, which may include addition tests such as Optomap and/or optical coherence tomography, your optometrist can diagnose potential vision threatening changes in your eye that may be treated to prevent blindness.
It is recommended that all diabetics, even if they aren’t experiencing any visual symptoms or problems, have a comprehensive eye examination at least annually. Early detection of diabetic retinopathy is crucial, as treatment is much more likely to be successful at an early stage.