Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that develops when blood sugar levels aren’t well managed. As diabetes can easily be overlooked, many people may have the condition without realising, which can lead to health complications. Some people might notice “wispy clouds, floating in and out of [their] vision”, said the charity Diabetes UK. This is known as “seeing floaters”, which can be an indication of uncontrolled diabetes.
What are eye floaters?
The NHS stated that floaters can be seen in a variety of ways; for some, they appear as “dark dots”.
For others, they might look like “squiggly lines, rings or cobwebs” floating across your vision.
Floaters are common in older adults, usually caused by “posterior vitreous detachment (PVD)”.
This is where the gel inside of the eyes change, and it’s usually not a sign of something serious if:
- You’ve had them for a long time
- They’re not getting worse
- Your vision is not affected
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Another issue to bring up to an optometrist is if you are struggling to see when it’s dark.
“Your eyesight can also go a bit blurry if your blood sugar goes higher than usual, even for a short time,” said Diabetes UK.
High blood sugars can damage the blood vessels that supply blood to your retina – the “seeing part of the eye”.
Damaged blood vessels in this area means that the retina can’t get the blood it needs to work properly, meaning you won’t be able to see properly.
The damage to the eye is gradual, so it’s unlikely someone will wake up one day and be blind.
However, diabetic retinopathy can become quite advanced before it begins affecting your sight.
This is why it’s key to attend regular eye tests, so that any underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, can be picked up on.
The earliest signs of type 2 diabetes include:
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger
- Increased urination
- Blurry vision
- Slow healing wounds
A simple blood test arranged by your GP can determine if you have diabetes or not.
Ignoring the early warning signs will only lead to health complications down the line.
As well as the risk of losing your vision, you’re also at risk of kidney problems, strokes, heart attacks and foot problems.
Nerve damage throughout the body can affect the way a person sees, hears, feels and moves.