3 Ways Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes

Diabetes is a condition that affects every area of the body. One place that this is particularly significant is within the eyes. Poorly-controlled diabetes can have a devastating effect on your vision, making it essential to undergo regular checks with a diabetic-savvy ophthalmologist.

Read on to discover how diabetes can affect your eyes and what can be done to slow the progression. 

Diabetes: the disease-eye link 

  • All about diabetic eye disease

All about diabetic eye disease

The term, diabetic eye disease, encompasses a range of issues that affect the eyes. All of them occur when the blood sugar is allowed to remain too high for extended periods. This has a detrimental effect on various areas of eye health, including the pressure with the eye, the blood vessels that supply the organs of vision, and their internal structures. 

By far the best way to approach this is to keep your blood sugar under strict control. Whether this is done through diet, medication, or a combination of the two is something that should be discussed with your diabetic physician or nurse. However, another vital aspect of disease control is regular eye checks that look for the specific issues that can occur within the eyes. 

3 Specific Vision Issues Related to Diabetes 

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetic macular edema
  • Glaucoma and cataracts

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes can cause damage to the lining of the back of the eye, called the retina. This is made up of light-sensitive cells that play a vital role in the signals that are sent to the brain. This thin layer captures the light that enters the eye and channels it, via the optic nerve, to the brain where it’s translated into the images that we see.

In diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels that supply the retina become weaker and can begin to swell or leak. This is known as non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy. As the disease progresses, these poorly functioning blood vessels can close off, causing others to grow in their place. However, these are weaker and grow (or proliferate) on the surface of the retinal itself. Hence this stage is called proliferative diabetic retinopathy. It can cause very serious issues with vision, even leading to blindness. 

Diabetic macular edema 

Again, diabetic macular edema affects the retina—but this time a specific element, called the macula. This is the area that’s responsible for the sharpness of vision. Again, rising pressures and leaky blood vessels cause the macula to swell, leading to hazy vision at first, followed by a gradual loss of sight. If allowed to continue unchecked, it can cause blindness.

Glaucoma and cataracts

Glaucoma and cataracts can also affect those without diabetes, but having the disease significantly raises the chances of contracting them (or that they occur earlier in life, in the case of cataracts).

Glaucoma is caused by raised pressure within the eyes that damages the optic nerve. A cataract is caused by the lens in the eye becoming cloudy, so gradually diminishing the quality of vision. This happens as deposits clump together on the lens, preventing light from entering the eye correctly. It’s believed that consistently high levels of blood sugar are one of the key reasons this can occur earlier in life for those who suffer from diabetes.

Both conditions will result in gradual loss of vision if not kept under control.

The key to reducing the chance of all of the above diseases is to pay close attention to your blood sugar. Monitoring, diet, and compliance to any medication regime are crucial to ensure that your eyesight remains as good as possible for as long as possible. This, coupled with regular checks from a diabetic eye doctor, will help keep all of these diseases at bay. In addition, early detection also plays a key role in the management strategy of diabetic eye disease. 

Suffer from Diabetes or are Pre-Diabetic? Partner with the WBEC for the Ultimate in Diabetic Eye Care

The West Boca Eye Center specializes in the care of those who have, or are at risk of, diabetes. Lead clinician, Brent Bellotte MD. is a leading provider of such care, and he heads a team of highly experienced ophthalmologists who monitor and treat every aspect of diabetic eye care.

Whether you suffer from Type I or Type II diabetes, have been recently diagnosed, have lived with the condition for years, or have been told you’re at risk of developing diabetes, it’s never too late (or too soon) to partner with a true expert in diabetic eye care. 

Don’t leave your eyesight to chance for one more moment. Visit

https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/diabetic-retinopathy/  today and ensure that your eyesight gets the treatment it deserves.