How Diabetes Can Effect Your Eyes: Diabetic Retinopathy

diabetes and your eyes

If asked which of the senses is most important to me, I think I would say vision. This was made abundantly clear when my doctor informed me that I was developing diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated or not caught in time blindness could result.

I have Type 2 diabetes and work hard to keep it under control. Watch what i eat and get regular exercise, but until this diagnosis i slacked off on and then,

For example, there were times when I slipped in my diet and found myself eating too much and too much of the wrong stuff, especially sweets.

That has ended. Although I still have sugar free chocolate and other dessert now and then. Being diabetic does not mean that you eat no sugar which in our world is very difficult but that you eat little sugar.

About 16 months ago, I woke one morning to and found that my vision was somewhat blurred; at first I thought that it was just sleep it was early but I came to realize that overnight soemthign had changed.

There was definitely a film feathery dark coloured film in my right eye. The left eye was fine.

I called my family doctor as soon as his office was open for business and made an appointment. There was a six day wait and that was a very long six days.

Finally, the appointment time came and after the examination, the doctor told me that I did have what was called in layperson’s terms, floaters and that this was common which meant that it happened to some people as they got older.

The Canadian National Institute for the Bind defines floaters as:

Floaters are dark specks in the form of dots, circles, lines, or cobwebs that seem to move across your field of vision. They are most noticeable when you are looking at a light-coloured background, such as a clear sky or a white wall. Floaters come in many sizes and numbers, and they seem to move when you look in different directions .

Floaters will seem to go away as we get used to them and while at first are annoying that soon passes.

However, because I have Type 2 diabetes, the doctor thought it best that a specialist, an ophthalmologist take a closer look. An ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in the branch of medicine concerned with the study of the physiology, anatomy, and pathology of the eye and the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the eye.

The first trip was an eye exam; the results of which brought be back for a closer look.

As it turns out what was happening was, there were floaters but the ophthalmologist also noticed the beginnings of diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of adult blindness. It is a complication of diabetes that results from damage to small blood vessels in the eye. This damage to blood vessels affects the nourishment of the retina which leads to visual loss. This condition can occur in both types 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Fortunately it was in an early stage and could be treated. The recommended treatment is laser surgery.

In all, I have had four treatments, two in each eye. This morning I made my regular six month visit to the ophthalmologist and to both our delights my visual acuity is fine and for now there is no further need for surgery.

This all brings me back to the importance of control. If you follow the advice of your doctor and any other medial professional who is involved in your program, eat properly and exercise, you may never develop diabetic retinopathy.


diabetes and your eyes

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Comments 13 comments

Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

I, too, have Type II diabetes and I keep a close eye on my vision, teeth, feet and other vital things I really and truly do not wish to part with.

Hope all is well and hang in there - one day we might find a way to overcome Type II!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

All is well, thanks and i agree one day we will.

Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Bob - thank God you caught it early. I'm glad it had a happy ending.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks Shirley, me too.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

I'm so happy you are taking care of your eyes.  Bob, as you know, my mother is the subject of many of my writings.  She lost her eyesight to diabetic retinopathy - when she developed it, the laser surgery was just in infancy.  The effects took 6 months after the surgery, but by then the eye had more hemmorrhages. I am pleased that thousands are now benefiting from the experiments of the 60's. 

Her blindness had huge impacts on our family, and she was a strong person who coped.  I am committed to research in this area, and it is one of my main charities, even if I only give a little.  If my book is ever a hit, I will give a portion of the proceeds to the Diabetes Foundation.

Thanks for putting this great and vital information out there!  I hope all who read, take care. 

I'm very grateful for your hub.  =)

moonlake profile image

moonlake 8 years ago from America

Interesting. I'm not diabetic but do use my blood glucose meter because they say my levels are runing a little high. The whole thing is a little confusing to me. I guess it will all be figured out someday but I do keep track of my eyes and feet see doctors for both.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks Marisue, and moonlake, by taking regular readings you know how your food intake affects your blood glucose levels and this helps you maintain control.

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Hi Bob - great hub on the dangers of retinopathy! I have Type 1 diabetes, which must be managed strictly too. I test regularly and eat well - exercise frequently. I am happy to hear that you caught your issues early and that you are taking such good care of yourself. Many diabetics, particularly those with Type 2, do not do so. Best, Steph

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Type 1 does require strict management and thanks for stopping by.

Juliet Christie profile image

Juliet Christie 8 years ago from Sandy Bay Jamaica

I have type two diabetes and  I did not know . I went to fit a contact lens and the specialist said the saw that someting was happening to my retina.Because I came from Jamaica on Vavation to the US. he  suggested it could have been the rays from  the sun and the bule sea. He said I should wear a special type of sun shades. However when I came home I got a cut on a finger that healed  quickly but started to hurt and turned black. When I went to the doctor he sent me to do a glucose test and bingo there it was type 11 Diabetes. I am mananging effectively.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Glad to hear you are managing it well.

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

I am glad you got sorted this out quickly, hope all is well now. I didn't realize that Diabetic causes eye problems also. I hope they find a cure soon.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

All is well, a cure would be good, thanks for stopping by

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