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If I have Diabetes, do I need glasses?

In Sub-Saharan Africa it is estimated that over 60% of the population has undiagnosed Diabetes. In Zimbabwe, due to the high prevalence of hypertension (elevated blood pressure) which can put people at risk for Diabetes, it is believed that more people are at risk for Diabetes than recorded cases. Therefore regular checks for blood pressure and blood sugar are advisable for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This is because in the case of undiagnosed Diabetes which is experienced over a long period of time, the effects can be devastating leading to amputation of limbs or even blindness. In fact, ongoing issues with blood sugar are strongly linked to a variety of eye problems. 

Most of us are already aware that Diabetes often affects your eyesight. What is confusing is that there is more than one type of eye problem related to Diabetes. The most severe eye problem is blindness and the least severe is blurry vision. However, the most important thing to understand about Diabetes and eye problems is that blurry vision is normally a sign that your blood sugar is not under control. This blurriness occurs from blood vessels bursting in the eye or swelling of your lens due to unstable blood sugar. Most times with appropriate treatment this blurriness can be reversed in as little as 6 weeks. As with all medical conditions early detection will give you a better prognosis.

So if you suffer from Diabetes, remember that blurry vision is about more than just spectacles, you will need to visit your doctor and put appropriate measures in place. On the other hand, if you do not suffer from Diabetes but have blurry vision, then make a stop at your optometrist’s. You may just need glasses. However, remember to approach your exam in the same way you do your medical check-up, give a thorough medical history and run down of your lifestyle. Your optometrist will then be able to assess whether you need to see a physician for further investigations.   

Risk factors for Diabetes are:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor diet with saturated fatty foods and processed sugar.
  • A pattern of other family members also suffering from Diabetes

Make sure to book an annual eye exam for you and your family.