How Does Diabetes Affect the Eyes?

How Does Diabetes Affect the Eyes?

How Does Diabetes Affect the Eyes?

How Does Diabetes Affect the Eyes?

December 7, 2021

If you have diabetes, you need to schedule regular visits to the eye doctor. High blood sugar can cause severe eye problems. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74. Eye exams are instrumental in the detection of diabetes. 


Blurry vision is usually one of the early warning signs that someone has diabetes. In some cases, taking eye drops or stabilizing the blood sugar can resolve the problem of blurry vision. There are several ways in which diabetes affects the eyes.


Diabetic Retinopathy


One of the most common retinal disorders that result from diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic patients who experience blurry vision for a long time usually end up developing this condition. Diabetic retinopathy develops in different stages. 


The stages are mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, moderate non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Most patients do not exhibit symptoms of the disease until it has progressed to the final stage. 




People who have diabetes can experience blurry vision due to cataracts. Patients who have diabetes often develop cataracts earlier than other adults. Cataracts cause the eye lens to become cloudy. 


Symptoms of cataracts include blurry or clouded vision, faded colors, light sensitivity, double vision, and halos or glare around lights. People with cataracts also experience frequent changes in the lens prescription. 




Blurry vision is a common symptom of glaucoma. This is an eye disease that results from pressure in the eye that causes damage to the optic nerve. People who have diabetes have a higher risk of developing glaucoma than those who do not. 


Other symptoms of the disease include tunnel vision or loss of peripheral vision, red eye, halos around lights, and ocular pain. Patients also experience nausea or vomiting. 




Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs due to the buildup of glucose in the blood as the body lacks adequate insulin. The patient ends up with blurry vision. Apart from blurry vision, there are other symptoms of hypoglycemia. 


These include headaches, fatigue, and increased urination and thirst. Managing glucose levels is essential for avoiding hypoglycemia. Poor control of blood sugar can cause more problems with vision, increasing the risk of developing irreversible blindness.


Macular Edema


Macular edema is the condition that occurs when leaking fluid leads to the swelling of the macula. Signs of macula edema include color changes and wavy vision. Diabetic macula edema develops from diabetic retinopathy, and it often affects both eyes. Early treatment can help correct the issue or prevent it from worsening. 


Blurry vision is often a relatively minor issue that eye drops or new glasses can resolve. However, blurry vision can also be an indication of a serious eye or medical condition. Individuals who have diabetes have a high risk of developing eye conditions. 


It is crucial to ensure your manage your blood sugar, take your medication, and follow doctors’ instructions. Regular testing and eye exams will help in the management of your eye health.


For more on how diabetes affects the eyes, contact Maine Coast Eye Care at our office in Rockport, Maine. You can call 207-887-0022 today to schedule an appointment.

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