The Link Between Sugar and Your Eye Health

August 25, 2019

Did you know that your nutrition choices can affect your eye health? This is especially true for sugar intake, a subtle staple of the American diet. At Piedmont Eye Center, we care about your eye health, which means we also care about the foods you eat that can affect it, particularly sugar. So, we have gathered some information for you on how sugar can affect your eye health.

How Excessive Sugar Intake Affects Eye Health

Sugar is a pro-inflammatory ingredient that, in some patients, causes high glycemia, or high blood sugar. Inflammation and high blood sugar can affect your entire body, including your eyes. When you have high blood sugar, your eye lenses will swell, which in turn brings about problems such as blurry vision. Studies have proven this effect, and those with chronic high blood sugar problems are more at risk for eye disease.

One of the most common sugar-related diseases is diabetes, in which your body either doesn’t create insulin or doesn’t produce enough of it for your needs. Insulin is used to remove excess sugar from your blood, so if you don’t have enough insulin, you’re at risk for high blood sugar and high blood pressure problems. Both of these problems can hurt your eye health and put you at risk for eye disease. For those who have diabetes, poorly managed sugar intake can result in diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition in which the blood vessels in your eyes become damaged (sometimes irreparably), resulting in blurriness, visual impairment and, in extreme cases, blindness.

Eye swelling as a result of high blood sugar can also lead to other harmful changes in your eyes. These changes can cause cataracts, a clouding condition in your eye lenses that results in blurry and obstructed vision. Glaucoma can also result as the blood vessels in your eyes narrow due to high glycemia and hypertension, or high blood pressure. Furthermore, maintaining a lifestyle of excess sugar consumption may also lead to macular degeneration, a deteriorative eyesight condition. These problems will only be further worsened by diabetes, particularly type 2, which more and more Americans are developing at a young age due to excessive sugar consumption.

How to Avoid Eye Problems Caused By Sugar

As with most bodily conditions, one of the best preventative measures to avoid eye disease and diabetes is maintaining a proper diet. This includes eating plenty of fruits and green leafy vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are low-glycemic, have vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay well and assist in keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure low.

This is not to say that you should avoid sugar entirely (though if you’re diabetic, you’ll want to want to watch your blood sugar levels carefully). But it does mean that you should place boundaries around sugar and limit your portions. It’s a good idea to read food labels for best ingredient combinations. In doing this, you can look out for added sugars. 

Finally, if you want to keep your eyes healthy, it’s important to keep up with your regular eye exams. This is especially important if you already have diabetes and want to make sure that your eyes, along with the rest of your body, stay healthy as you age. Piedmont Eye Center is here to make sure your eyes stay as healthy as they can be. Contact us today to set up an appointment!

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