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The Link Between Diabetes and Your Eyes

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Scheduling an appointment for a routine eye examination and finding the symptoms of an underlying disease like diabetes is devastating. Despite that, it can help prevent further damage to your health. That is why you should never overlook the significance of visiting an optometrist. An eye test can not only diagnose diabetes, but it can also provide insight regarding blood sugar levels. It will also allow you to prevent or manage diabetes as per your condition.

Moreover, diabetes is a complex health disorder that occurs when your body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that transports blood sugar to the cells to generate energy. Endocrinologists state that adult-onset diabetes is the standard type of the disease. This type primarily affects people over 40, with a sedentary lifestyle, and high weight. Plus, you are more likely at risk if you have a family history with diabetes.

Diabetes and Eyes

The affiliation of diabetes and your eyes are complicated to comprehend. Various studies conclude that it is a vascular disease that impacts blood vessels. Also, one of the essential vascular tissues of your body is found in the eye which is known as choroid. It is also a structure of your blood vessels that transfer energy to the retina. Not to mention, these vessels are necessary but vulnerable to the effects of diabetes at the same time.

Diabetic Eye Disease

People who have diabetes may develop diabetic eye disease. This eye disorder brings a series of sight-threatening issues including glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Type 1 or 2 diabetes can contribute to diabetic retinopathy. It occurs due to the swelling and weakening of the tiny blood vessels in your retina. This condition results in the growth of new blood vessels and blood leakage along with other changes. In some cases, when blood sugar levels remain high for a long period of time, it starts constricting small blood vessels that function to maintain retina health.

Plus, 23% people with type 1 diabetes on insulin therapy develop retinopathy, whereas chances of its occurrence in type 2 diabetics are reduced to 14%. Moreover, diabetic retinopathy might cause no to mild eyesight problems. Optometrists suggest that this condition may lead to farsightedness, nearsightedness, and worse – blindness. The following are the early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Blurry vision
  • Inability to see colors
  • Loss of central vision
  • Blood spots or holes in eyes
  • Flashes of light in the field of vision


Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens which is responsible for blurring normal vision. People who have diabetes are more prone to cataracts than those without it. Recent studies reveal that cataracts can occur at a young age and are not limited to primarily affecting people of a higher age.


Open-angle glaucoma is a more common form of the condition, whereas neovascular glaucoma is a rarer type of glaucoma. The rare form is complex to treat as it occurs when new blood vessels grow in your iris. This way fluid flow gets restricted raising the pressure in the eye. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of having glaucoma develop, especially if their blood glucose levels are not well controlled.

Bottom Line

Diabetes contributes to various major and minor eye disorders. It is highly recommended to consult with your eye-specialist to get the right treatment in the case of any diabetes related eye conditions.

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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