Irregular blood sugar levels can affect your eyes, too. When blood sugar levels are too high for extended periods of time, it can damage capillaries (tiny blood vessels) that supply blood to the retina. Over time, these blood vessels begin to leak fluids and fats, causing edema (swelling). Eventually, these vessels can close off, called ischemia. These problems are signs of non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR).
Diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease, occurs when blood vessels in the retina change. Sometimes these vessels swell and leak fluid or even close off completely. In other cases, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye.
Maintaining strict control of blood sugar and blood pressure, as well as having regular diabetic retinopathy screenings by our ophthalmologists, are keys to preventing diabetic retinopathy and vision loss. Controlling blood sugar and also help to prevent the development of cataracts, as diabetes is a risk factor for cataracts.