Vision Scare

Yesterday I had an uncomfortable scare with my vision. My Libre sensor failed on my way to church - thankfully I was planning to travel right after, so I had all my diabetes stuff packed with me. Unfortunately, I have to wait 24 hours after applying a sensor before activating it or it’s wildly inaccurate and useless. That plus driving 5 hours after lunch meant I was distracted and more conservative treating my BG (and also just couldn’t test as often as I’d prefer because I was driving). I ended up hovering around 200 for over an hour.

About an hour into this, I started noticing pressure in my eyes, which has happened with both high blood sugar levels and fast shifts. Then an hour and a half in, I noticed the (sort of) white interstate divider to my left was tinged red; my peripheral vision on that side was red. Cue panic and more hurried treatment for my BG. The red gradually faded, as did the pressure, as my BG returned to normal levels, but I was still concerned - I wasn’t sure if blood had just settled out of my field of vision. I went to bed last night with a not insignificant level of trepidation, anticipating a return of red vision this morning, but all is fine.

Has this happened to anyone (and resolved without treatment)? I honestly had hoped that BG levels in the high 100/low 200s wouldn’t cause too many issues, because my control has not been as tight in recent months (burnout + mom on hospice 5 months and now passed 3 weeks ago, so I’ve been traveling/away from home a ton). I still try to keep it close to/under 100 when fasting and quickly address anything that gets above 180ish after meals - I never get up to 300 because I think I do still have some insulin production - but there have been many times I’ve lost track of things and found myself higher than I like for longer than I like. Now I have to figure out how to tighten control without burning myself out (and get in to see an eye doctor within the next week…).


Call asap, they can recommend if things for you to do. Sleeping with head raised if they think it may be a bleed. Could be something not related to diabetes, given your great control.


The main problem with seeing someone ASAP is I’m in between doctors currently (last doctor was in a different state than where I live now) and it’s not possible to see someone where I live this week due to other things.

I have a slight difference in my eyesight depending on my BG.

I discovered this from going to the ophthalmologist and getting checked for glasses numerous times, and sometimes my eyesight would be better or worse, depending on my BG.


I’ve had a variety of eye problems over the last few years. I am showing signs of diabetic retinopathy but the problems that I’ve needed urgent treatment for have been unrelated to diabetes. In all cases I went to my regular optometrist (not opthalmologist) and she referred me as appropriate. The approach has the advantage that I can get an appointment locally with no waiting and she knows how to do the correct referral with the correct level of emergency.

I suspect you might have a problem unrelated to the diabetes. You wear glasses so I guess you have eye exams from time to time; my optometrist used to do yearly diabetic eye exams which are covered by health, not vision, insurance in the US. Those eye exams should catch the onset of diabetes complications.


It takes prolonged high blood sugars (usually over years) to get retinopathy or other diabetic changes. I would be shocked if you had those based on your control. I would definitely get to an opthamologist as soon as you can for a check up to make sure there’s not another issue, and also getting a baseline thorough exam and retinal scans is not a bad idea, since then you can have those done to compare against possible diabetes-related changes or other issues down the line.

I have now pretty well controlled retinopathy (after some years of not great control, which I got much tighter following the retinopathy dx), and I will say when I have a retinal bleed, I don’t feel it beyond it’s effects on eye strain, but those aren’t immediate. No pressure or anything. I just see dots or scrawls of dark red/brown in my vision (blood) that within a number of hours disperse mostly into a haze or at least fuzzier bits in my vision and then can take months to fully absorb back, but clear enough to see ok relatively soon. I’ve had to get laser and injections to manage it, and I still get occasional injections and very regular exams (every 3-4 months), but it feels like a very manageable condition at this point and one that is stable.


My ophthalmologist/retina specialist always tells me to call him ASAP if I notice any change in my vision. So I would recommend as others have, to try to see a Dr ASAP.

On the other hand, lows and highs do effect my vision. I sometimes have double vision for lows. Brightness (sun, lights, computer screen, etc.) causes my vision to sort of behave like I’ve just looked into the center of the sun, everything is just a big sunspot. This can happen for lows and highs.


Yeah I should specify I meant it takes years to cause any permanent or problematic changes—temporary vision fluctuations that aren’t a sign of a problem are normal with high blood sugars especially and for some with lows.


That’s what I had originally thought - that’s very encouraging to hear…well, mostly - still wondering what happened; wondering if perhaps @jbowler is correct that it is an unrelated issue. I haven’t been as consistent with eye exams in recent years due to moves/family/health issues, but had already planned to see someone soon. Hopefully if I mention what’s going on they’ll be able to get me in quickly.


Just an update - saw a doctor today and everything checked out fine with my eyes (outside of a slight panic over a peripheral vision test that turned out to be a finicky test issue not a me going blind issue :laughing:). Vasculature and everything looked perfect; she said it was likely just due to the stress my body was under at the time.


Glad it turned out OK. If all it took to have permanent vision issues is spending time at 300, I know a lot of diabetics that would have vision problems.


I didn’t really think it would be an issue, but considering how this past year has been for me, I wouldn’t have exactly been surprised to have some weird things happen. :crazy_face: