How long does it take for diabetes to damage eyes?

Diabetes has a little bit of a scary reputation when it comes to eyes.

You may have heard the stories going around about blindness. If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, that can be worrisome, but you don’t need to worry as much as you might think.

It takes a while for your blood sugar level to actually affect your eyes. You do have a higher risk of blindness than someone that doesn’t have diabetes, but if you’re on top of it you should be okay.

Let’s break it down.

What does diabetes do to the eyes?

Is diabetes that bad for your eyes?

Your blood sugar can temporarily affect your vision. Blurred vision is common with people who have diabetes. If your blood sugar is high, water will be pulled into the lens of your eye, swelling it and blurring your vision.

You shouldn’t bother with new glasses or contacts if you haven’t been on top of your blood sugar levels. It usually takes six weeks or so for blood sugar levels to normalize after you’re taking care of it. If you get new glasses or contacts in that time, you’ll get the wrong prescription.

Usually you should wait for at least two months after you’ve gotten your blood sugar levels right to go to the optometrist. But diabetes can cause long-term damage too.

Diabetic retinopathy is the problem you need to be aware of. If you’ve had diabetes, over time your eyes will get worse because the blood vessels in your retina will get weaker and thinner. Eventually they can form micro-aneurysms, small bubbles that come out of the side of the weakened blood vessels.

When those areas get weak they leak exudate, a fatty protein that can solidify into problem areas. Leakage into the center of the eye will cause you to lose vision in that area, which can cause vision changes that are permanent.

Long-term diabetes consequences

If blood sugar continues to stay low, blood can leak out of those weaker blood vessels and cause hemorrhages. Even if new blood vessels grow you can get a condition called proliferative diabetes retinopathy. Those blood vessels can bleed into your retina or even grow into the vitreous humor that makes up the bulk of your eye.

An optometrist can catch signs of this early, but your best bet is keeping good blood sugar control. Get eye exams on a regular basis and keep control of your blood sugar to forestall any consequences for diabetes.

We can help you catch your diabetes eye problems at Oklahoma City Vision. Contact us today and we’ll help you make sure you’re not dealing with consequences from your Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.