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Eyesight and Diabetes: A Complete Overview

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How Can Diabetes Affect Your Eyes? 

Diabetes can cause several eyesight problems due to blood glucose or blood sugar. Generally, it happens when you have too high blood sugar. 

Short Term Effects of Diabetes 

When your blood sugar remains too high for a short period, you may not suffer from vision loss. But you may have blurry vision for a few days or weeks. However, it may also happen because of any changes in their medicines and care plan. At this point, high glucose can cause swelling and change fluid levels in the eye tissues that cause blurred vision. Furthermore, these problems can go away when your sugar level gets normal. 

Long Term Effects of Diabetes 

High blood sugar in the long term can affect blood vessels in your eyes. This problem starts developing during prediabetes when your glucose level is higher than regular but not high enough to be diagnosed. Not to mention, damaged vessels can leak fluids and cause swelling. Moreoverit also leads to the growth of new blood vessels that are weak. These new ones can bleed in your eye, causing extremely high pressure inside your eyes.  

Potential Eye Problems Caused By Diabetes 

Blurry Vision 

High blood sugar can cause blurry vision. To treat this problem, you need to get your blood sugar level back to its normal rate. Even once your sugar levels are back in control, it will most likely take some time before your vision returns to normal. Make sure to consult your eye doctor when your vision gets blurred 


When your lens becomes cloudy, it means you develop a cataract in your eyes. This disease is common and can develop in everyone‘s eyes, whether they have diabetes or not. But diabetic patients have more risk of cataracts formation than others. 


This is a group of eye problems that cause damage to your optic nerve (several nerves connect your eye to the brain). Diabetic patients have an increased chance of developing this disease. Glaucoma can also lead to blindness if you don’t treat it at an early stage.  

Diabetic Retinopathy 

You may know that retina is the inner lining present at the back of your eye. This part of your eye helps you send the signals to your brain that decode it to understand what you are looking at. Your damaged or injured blood vessels can hurt the retina. This lead to a health condition called retinopathy.  

In the early stage of this disease, blood vessels usually bulge, become weak, or leak into the retina. This phase is known as non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy. If not treated, some of your blood vessels stop working, which leads to the growth of new vessels on the retina’s surface. This phase is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. These new vessels are abnormal and start creating severe vision problems.  

Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Diseases 

The following are some common symptoms that indicate that your eyes are getting hurt by diabetes.  

  • wavy or blurry vision 
  • vision loss or dark areas 
  • frequently changing vision 
  • flashes of light
  • poor color vision 
  • dark strings or sports (also called floaters) 

Bottom Line 

Diabetes is a chronic health problem that leads to several other chronic health conditions. Once diagnosed with it, you need to start taking precautions for maintaining your glucose level. This way, you can prevent the development of any eyesight problem.

Written by Total Focus

At Total Focus Optometry, we’ve spent the last 70 years building meaningful relationships with our patients and their families. From routine eye exams to contact lens fittings we offer our patients a variety of services to meet their eye care needs.

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