If you have diabetes, you are probably aware of the fact that you need to see your eye doctor once a year. However, you should probably make sure that the doctor is an ophthalmologist instead of an optometrist. You may need to see your regular optometrist and ask for a referral. While your regular eye doctor can still give you an eye exam and prescribe your glasses, there are a few things you will need the ophthalmologist for.
If you are having more headaches than normal, your vision is blurry, and your eyes actually hurt it could be glaucoma. This is a disease in which the pressure builds up in your eye keeping your from seeing correctly. While anyone can get glaucoma, people with diabetes are especially susceptible. The reason for this is because glaucoma affects the blood vessels in your eyes the way high blood sugar can. In diabetes, as the blood vessels are damaged, new ones will form and could form on the iris. This will block the normal flow of any fluid and the pressure will build up inside your eye.
Retinopathy is a problem with the retina ( the area at the back of your eye that sends light images to the optic nerve and the brain.) Damaged blood vessels due to high blood sugar expand and branch out. When this occurs in the blood vessels over the retina light cannot reach it properly so your brain does not receive the signals it needs to see. You may have areas in your normal field of vision that are black and the rest of the area could be blurry.
Cataracts is a condition in which the lens of the eyes become cloudy. This will cause your vision to be very blurry. It might start out with a small spot on the lens, but if left unattended will grow until the whole thing becomes cloudy and your vision is like looking through a very frosty window.
Ophthalmologists are eye doctors who specialize in the treatment of eye diseases. An optometrist is more concerned with correcting your vision through the use of glasses and/or contact lenses. Because any disease is easier to treat and has a better outcome when caught early, you want to see an ophthalmologist regularly to get any necessary treatment started as soon as possible. If it is your optometrist that notices the problem, you will have to wait for a referral and then make an appointment. The extra time could make things worse. See an optometrist for your eyeglasses, but also make an appointment with an ophthalmology expert for the health of your eyes.