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Diabetes and Your Eyes

There are four different parts to the human eye.

  • The Retina (REH-ti-nuh) is the lining at the back of your eye that senses light.
  • The Vitreous (VIH-tree-us) is a jelly-like fluid that fills the back of the eye.
  • The Lens is at the front of the eye and focuses light on the retina.
  • The Optic Nerve is the eye’s main nerve to the brain. High blood sugar causes the blood to “thicken” and makes it harder to push through the tiny blood vessels in your retinas. The blood vessels swell and weaken, and some might become clogged and fail to let enough blood through.

Diabetic retinopathy is the medical term for eye problems. As retina problems get worse, new blood vessels grow in the eyes, but they are weak and leak blood into the vitreous of your eye. The leaking blood keeps light from getting to the retina, and you may see floating spots, or total darkness.

Over time, the swollen and weak blood vessels can pull the retina away from the back of the eye causing you to see floating spots or flashing lights. A detached retina can cause you to loose some or all of your sight. If you think you may have a detached retina, see your doctor right away.

To prevent or slow eye problems, keep your blood sugar and blood pressure as close to normal as possible. Your doctor will tell you what the numbers should be, and if you need to make a change in your treatment plan.

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