Diabetes affects over 11% of our country’s population. Eating unhealthy foods, such as those rich in sugar and processed ingredients, is one of the most critical reasons for the condition’s increasing prevalence. Excessive sugar intake has adverse health consequences, including poor dental health, high blood pressure, and liver and heart damage. In addition, it is associated with several eye-related disorders. Here are the signs of poor eyesight due to excessive sugar intake and diabetes.
Fast progressing cataracts
Although cataracts are common among older adults, persistently high blood sugar can damage the eye lens’ structure and cause cataracts to progress faster. Moreover, studies have shown that patients with diabetes are two to five times more susceptible to developing cataracts than those with normal blood sugar levels. Blurred vision, poor eyesight at night, faded colors, and the perception of a halo around lights are common cataract symptoms.
The macula is the retina’s central part that facilitates the sharpness of vision. Macular edema is characterized by swelling of the macula due to leakage of blood vessels. Caused by high blood sugar, it is also referred to as diabetic macular edema. The common signs of this condition are blurry vision, double vision, floaters, and difficulty seeing clearly when surrounded by bright lights.
Diabetic retinopathy refers to the gradual loss of vision among individuals with diabetes. It occurs when diabetes adversely affects the retinal blood vessels. The disease typically leads to blurred eyesight, floaters, poor visibility at night, and blank areas in the field of vision.
Glaucoma is a term used to describe a group of eye disorders affecting the optic nerve (the bundle of nerve fibers connecting the eye and the brain). It may eventually lead to blindness if left untreated. Patients with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than those with normal blood sugar levels. The condition’s early signs include severe headaches, eye pain, perception of halos around lights, and eye redness.
It is important to note that diabetes increases one’s risk for a type of glaucoma called open-angle glaucoma. Here, the drainage angle formed where the cornea meets the iris remains open. In some cases, this angle is blocked or clogged with excessive build-up of eye fluid, which can increase eye pressure. Patients with open-angle glaucoma typically exhibit no symptoms initially; however, they develop blind spots in their side vision and experience difficulties with central vision with time.
How to prevent diabetes-related eye problems?
The signs of poor eyesight caused by excessive sugar intake or diabetes can be controlled with the following lifestyle changes:
Control sugar intake
Individuals with eye conditions related to diabetes should limit their intake of foods with added sugars, including soft drinks, desserts, chocolates, and baked items.
Regulate cholesterol and blood pressure
Diabetes-related conditions like cholesterol and blood pressure can affect one’s eye health. A meal plan devoid of processed and deep-fried foods can help control these disorders. Moreover, leading an active lifestyle and eliminating life stressors can help better manage the symptoms.
Go for dilated eye examinations regularly
Dilated eye examinations are essential to understand an eye disease’s progression. Experts advise visiting an ophthalmologist for routine eye checkups and undergoing dilated eye examinations at least once a year.