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It is common to schedule visits with your doctor for yearly physicals or a dentist for dental checkups. However, many don’t schedule regular eye exams unless they need contacts or prescription eyeglasses. For diabetics, there may be a greater reason to visit an ophthalmologist. Diabetes increases the risk of diabetic eye diseases including retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma that causes blurry vision. For adults between the ages of 20 to 74 it can be the leading cause of vision loss and blindness.

Cause

Blurry vision is one of the first signs of diabetes. Sugar levels building up and not enough insulin to break it down, known as hyperglycemia, negatively affects your entire body including your eyes. When you start insulin treatments that can also cause blurry vision for the first few weeks. This is because the fluids shift, and some may leak into the lens of your eye making it swell and change shape. That will make it harder for your eyes to focus and makes things fuzzy. As you stabilize your blood sugar levels, your vision will also improve.

Outside of diabetes, you can also suffer blurry vision through digital eye strain. This occurs when you spend a lot of your time in front of a monitor screen or handheld devices. Your eyes begin to strain due to poor lighting or glare from your digital screens. Sitting at an improper distance from your monitors can also cause eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, and neck or shoulder pain.

Symptoms

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Retinopathy is a retinal disorder caused by diabetes that can also include macular edema and proliferative retinopathy. Macular edema is when the macula, the part of the retina that gives you sharp vision, swells due to leaking fluid. This may bring wavy vision and color changes. Proliferative retinopathy is when the blood vessels leak fluid into the center of your eye. This may cause you to experience spots or floaters, or have trouble seeing in the dark. Retinopathy is a progressive disorder that gets worse if blood sugar levels stay high.

Glaucoma is another disease that happens when there is pressure on your optic nerve. The National Eye Institute states that diabetics have twice the risk of glaucoma than other adults. You can also experience reddening of the eyes, halos around lights, loss of peripheral vision (tunnel vision), and eye pain.

Cataracts cause blurry vision because they cause the lens of your eyes to become cloudy. Those diabetics at younger ages tend to develop this more than adults. With this may come faded colors, double vision typically in one eye, light sensitivity, and halos around lights.

Preventative Measures

Blurriness can be dramatic or very subtle and vary from day to day. The effects can also appear slowly over time or quickly depending on each case. When you notice these changes happening it is important to report these symptoms to your doctor.

Additionally, if your blurry vision is minor it can be fixed with eye drops or a new prescription for your eyeglasses. Major symptoms can be helped by keeping blood sugar levels under control and implementing regular diet and lifestyle routines common to diabetes management.

Dry eyes are very common with those suffering with blurry vision. This is often due to the lack of blinking over long periods of time when looking at screens. To prevent this, you can change the lighting around you, blink often, and take more breaks away from your screen(s).

Some other steps include:

  • Scheduling an annual eye exam
  • Eating eye-healthy foods
  • Carrying out regular exercise

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