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Can Diabetes Cause Bags Under Eyes?

can diabetes cause eye bags

When we discuss the triggers related to eye bags and dark circles, we tend to focus on the likes of nutrition, sleep deprivation, stress, alcohol consumption, and genetics. Even though these are common causes of puffiness and dark patches around the eyes, they are not the only culprits.

Other reasons behind their occurrence are some medical conditions like diabetes. What would a disease that affects the way the body turns food into energy have to do with eye bags? It is no secret that diabetes affects the skin in various ways. In the article that follows, we will discuss the link between this common health problem and 'racoon eyes'. Is there something you can do about it? Keep reading.

If you're looking for eye bag treatment in Singapore, feel free to get in touch with us and we'll discuss the best treatment for you depending on what's causing your puffy eyes.

Can Diabetes Cause Bags Under Eyes, Dark Circles, and Blurred Vision?

Diabetic people tend to retain water, which might lead to swelling in the lower extremities. Sometimes swelling can also get to the tissues around the eyes, causing blurred vision or other sight issues. It usually resolves when the glucose levels go back to normal, or closer to that.

White diabetes is not directly related to eye bags, and sometimes it can cause puffiness around the eyes. When it comes to dark circles, however, a certain association between these two could be established. It is evident that high blood glucose levels damage the blood vessels that are responsible for carrying essential nutrients to the nerves. In diabetes, sometimes this can manifest itself in puffy eyes, sagging skin, and dark circles.

For this reason, it is imperative that the disease be managed and blood sugar levels monitored at all times. Watch out for any warning signs that something may be off. When blood sugar is chronically high, these changes begin to affect the skin triggering a host of symptoms.

One particular sign is chronically dry skin. It happens when too much blood sugar draws extra fluid from the cells. The reason for this is that the body needs to make more urine so it can adequately get rid of the excess sugar.

This requires lots of water; thus, the kidneys go into overdrive in order to keep everything under control. As a result, more blood gets pumped around the system. One thing will lead to another, triggering dehydration which shows on the skin. It can present as puffiness and sagging skin around the eyes, as well as dry skin overall.

Something else that might be happening is a thing called glycation. This is when high blood sugar causes an internal reaction in the body in which sugar binds to elastin and collagen cells in the skin, damaging the proteins in question.

As you lose collagen and elastin from the skin, so you do elasticity. This is how the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, begins to look saggy and aged. In addition, there may be skin patches that will make it look as if you have dark circles. Other signs and symptoms that you may be dealing with high blood sugar are if these patches develop around the neck.

For the most part, diabetes can cause different skin problems. For example, if the disease is not managed, patients can have ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition. This will show on the largest organ of the body in the form of dryness, flushed appearance, or hot skin. Remember, the body always sends different signs to communicate health problems. If you are alert to those symptoms, you will be able to stay on top of your diabetes.

What Can You Do About It?

obese woman with diabetes working out

If you have diabetes, the first thing that you need to do is have a clear understanding of what the disease entails and in what ways it can impact your quality of life. It is vital that you monitor your diabetes to prevent blindness and other health complications.

Here is some advice on controlling diabetes and minimising your risk of complications:

  • Check your blood sugar levels daily and take any diabetes medication you have been prescribed.
  • You also want to keep track of your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • To ensure that you don't develop any eye problems, schedule regular eye exams. Most people with diabetes are encouraged to see a specialist once a year to protect their sight and avert diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, as well as vision loss altogether.
  • Watch your diet. Follow any advice you get from doctors on forming proper eating habits. Changing your diet might actually help you prevent dark circles and puffy eyes, not only because you'll be able to keep your blood sugar stable, but also because certain foods and drinks contribute to the cosmetic problem.
  • Quit smoking. Nicotine ups blood sugar levels. This can make it hard for you to handle diabetes.
  • Watch out for new symptoms and report them to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Here is more about the treatment of eye bags and dark circles:

  • If you are bothered by puffiness and pigmentation, there are different treatment options that you can explore to fight them, one of which is laser treatments. There are many types of laser machines with multiple settings that enable the doctor to customise each treatment depending on the needs of the person requesting the procedure.
  • Chemical peels work at different strengths. They can be mixed in to provide betters results. Both treatments require repeat sessions. Dermatologists often employ trichloroacetic acid as a medium or deep chemical peel. If you are not fond of the idea of in-office procedures, you can purchase mild chemical peels from the drugstore and try this at home.
  • Eye bags that are caused by tear troughs respond well to dermal fillers. The latter is an injectable, usually, with hyaluronic acid, that is inserted into the skin. It adds volume, which helps to minimise the appearance of wrinkles and eye bags. There are different types of fillers; some of them can last as long as a year. Maintenance sessions are necessary to keep the results consistent.
  • Severe eye bags are best treated with surgery called lower blepharoplasty. The operator makes cuts alongside the lower eyelid crease to cut out part of the skin and the tissue underneath. Excess fat is removed. Finally, the incisions are closed. Very little scarring forms or remains visible. An ideal candidate is a person with severe sagging of the skin under the eyes. If you have diabetes, it means your healing capacity is compromised. Therefore, you are not eligible for such a procedure but you can still avail of other aesthetic treatments.

What is Diabetic Eye Disease, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Diabetic Macular Edema?

Woman getting her eyes for diabetic retinopathy

According to the US National Eye Institute, diabetic eye disease (DED) is a group of health conditions that affect people with diabetes that can compromise one's eyesight, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and diabetic macular edema.

Why is that so? Diabetes-related fluid accumulation isn't restricted to the skin around the eyes only. It can impact the back of the eye where the macula is. Over time, diabetic eye disease leads to vision problems and a decline in health.

Diabetic macular edema

As mentioned above, one such complication is diabetic macular edema, and it can cause vision loss. Although diabetes is the main cause, the disease can be triggered by other issues such as blocked veins, swelling in the middle part of your eye, damage from radiation, and cataract surgery. As for glaucoma, it damages the nerves that connect the eyes to the brain, increasing the risk of vision issues.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is another complication of diabetes affecting the back of the eye. These symptoms and diseases typically occur if diabetes is left untreated. Do speak to a doctor if you notice any changes in your vision. The sooner you seek treatment, the better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can diabetes cause bags under your eyes?

Yes, it sometimes can. The condition is caused by a lack of good blood circulation. High blood sugar can bring about swelling or change fluid levels in the tissues surrounding your eyes. However, eye bags don't always indicate diabetes. They can happen for various reasons. Make sure to get a professional diagnosis and medical advice on this before you make your own conclusions.

Can you tell if you have diabetes by looking at your eyes?

No, unless you are a medical expert. They can absolutely detect diabetes with an eye exam. Since the disease affects blood vessels, an eye doctor can see the damage that has been done to the back of the eye with the help of special equipment.

What does a diabetes eye look like?

There may not be visible changes to the eyes, but patients will notice eye problems like flashes of light, floaters and spots casting shadows on the retina. This happens as a result of scar tissue that develops when blood vessels are damaged. Unfortunately, uncontrolled diabetes could result in vision loss, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports.

What health issues cause bags under the eyes?

Medical conditions leading to bags under the eyes include renal disease, dermatomyositis, thyroid eye disease, and allergies. Genetics and smoking are other factors contributing to the unpleasant condition. 

Does high blood sugar cause puffy face?

High glucose could manifest itself with puffiness around the eyes when certain conditions are in place. Too much sugar in the blood dehydrates the body since it takes plenty of water for the system to eliminate the excess. The kidneys get overworked. Eventually, the signs show on your face. You need to understand that not every case of puffiness is due to diabetes. You need to obtain a diagnosis first to be sure.

Shens Clinic, 3 Killiney Road, Winsland House 1, #09-08, Singapore 239519

Monday – Friday: 09:00am – 06:00pm
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