Type 2 diabetes causes many symptoms, but what’s often overlooked are those affecting the eyes. Blurry vision can be an early sign of diabetes that can go unnoticed and the connection not made as a possible underlying cause of diabetes developing.
With July bringing awareness to eye health (visit JulEYE for more) let your eyes be the window into your blood sugar health and find out what you can do to protect them.
The silent progress of Type 2 diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes have consistently high levels of blood glucose and insulin throughout their body. These high levels of sugar have the ability to undermine every part of the body, including the eyes.
However, diabetes is known as a ‘slow and silent killer’, progressing silently up to 10 years preceding diagnosis. Many minor symptoms such as frequent urination and blurry vision, can be easily missed.
These subtle symptoms actually indicate that your body is trying to protect itself from the excess blood sugar, by attempting to eliminate it via the kidneys (frequent urination) and eyes (blurry vision).
Blurry vision is an important warning of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes and addressing it early can dramatically change the outcome for your health.
How does diabetes cause blurry vision?
It can take up to seven years for blood sugar and high insulin levels to weaken the tiny retinal blood vessels in the eye, before diabetes may be even diagnosed. One of the first symptoms to hint at this eye damage is blurry vision.
Blurry vision occurs with a leaking of fluid into the lens of your eye, causing it to swell and change shape. This makes focusing difficult with blurriness the result, potentially also with spots and cloudiness.
As diabetes progresses, blood vessels to the eye become significantly damaged from the elevated blood sugar levels and this gives rise to a number of eye issues, collectively known as diabetic retinopathy.
What other eye conditions can occur with Type 2 diabetes?
Diabetic retinopathy can include a number of eye disorders such as macula oedema, cataracts and glaucoma with blurry vision often a symptom.
Cataracts develop with high blood sugar levels. Some symptoms of cataracts include:
- faded colours
- clouded, blurry or double vision
- sensitivity to light, glare or halos around lights
- vision that doesn’t improve with new glasses
Blurry vision may also be a sign of glaucoma developing, a disease in which pressure in your eye damages the optic nerve. In fact, diabetes doubles the risk of developing glaucoma.
Along with blurry vision, symptoms of glaucoma may include:
- loss of peripheral vision or tunnel vision
- halos around lights
- reddening of the eyes
- ocular (eye) pain
- nausea or vomiting
When to get your eyes checked
Blurry vision isn’t always a symptom of Type 2 diabetes, with many other factors impacting how well your eyes focus. However, eye tests are a common way for diabetes to be picked up. Booking an eye test and letting your doctor know about this and any other symptoms, will help them to be sure of the cause and recommend the right treatment.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, you’re at an increased risk for the above eye diseases and they’re best picked up early. Regular eye tests will provide the early detection system to keep your blood sugar levels and health on track.
Treating the cause of blurry vision
Once eye health has deteriorated and the cause is known to be elevated blood sugar, this underlying cause must be treated rather than simply ‘managed’.
With the traditional approach to Type 2 diabetes relying on medication, diabetes may be controlled for a time, however the progressive damage continues to occur.
The best course of action is to lower blood sugar levels and therefore insulin levels through a proven lifestyle change that ensures you eat the right foods, at the right time with the right support in place to achieve sustainable long term change. This is possible with the Diabetes Clinic online programme.
Getting your blood sugar back into the target range will see your vision improve and less future damage occurring to the blood vessels in the eyes.
Addressing the underlying cause – insulin resistance – creates a healthier body and a positive future for your health. Check out our step by step guided online programme which offers support at every step of the way, that aims to reverse type 2 diabetes – and naturally.
It’ll open your eyes to a new way forward…changing the direction of Type 2 diabetes in your life.
Ready to talk to someone about your next step for diabetes? You can book a complimentary call below for a free consultation.