How Can Diabetes Affect the Eyes?

Diabetes affects many people, young and old. The American Diabetes Association always reminds patients to regulate their sugar levels. Doing so can prevent many complications, including the onset of eye conditions. Here are the details if you want to know how diabetes can affect your eyes.


Diabetes Causes Diabetic Eye Disease


Complications occur when you do not regulate your blood sugar. These include the onset of diabetic-related disease. A diabetic eye exam can determine which of these eye conditions a patient has:


  • Neovascular glaucoma is from high levels of sugar in the blood. The sugar damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina. This triggers the creation of new, abnormal blood vessels. These irregular blood vessels grow inside the iris. They can then increase IOP (intraocular pressure), which causes glaucoma

  • Diabetic retinopathy is said to be a leading cause of blindness. The eye condition happens when there are new, abnormal blood vessels on the retinal surface. It can also occur when the retinal blood vessels start to leak

  • Cataracts can also form earlier in people with diabetes. The progress of this eye condition tends to progress faster in diabetic patients. The lens starts to develop a cloudy buildup that makes seeing difficult for the individual

  • Macular edema affects the macula, the provider of straight and clear vision. This condition involves the swelling of the macula because of the leaking retinal blood vessels. Macular edema results in distorted or blurry vision

  • Lens swelling causes blurry vision as well. This happens when there is a quick change in your blood sugar levels. The shape of your lens changes, causing blurry vision. Your vision will return to normal once your blood sugar levels normalize. If you want a pair of prescription glasses, you must control your blood sugar levels first

  • Retinal detachment can result from diabetic retinopathy, which can result in the formation of scars behind the eye. These scars pull the retina away from behind the eye. This is known as tractional retinal detachment


Preventing Diabetic Eye Disease

Managing your blood sugar levels can prevent the onset of diabetic eye disease. Controlling cholesterol and blood pressure levels can also help prevent issues. It may be difficult to take that crucial first step, but it can help improve your vision and eye health. Here are some measures for preventing diabetic eye disease:


  • Reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure. Following your doctor’s instructions can help you do this

  • Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. You can do this by choosing UV-protective, wraparound sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection. Staying inside during peak hours of sunlight can prevent the onset of diabetic eye disease

  • Quit tobacco and alcohol consumption. These harmful habits can damage your blood vessels. They can also impair proper blood circulation and oxygenation that can support proper eye function


Diabetes can affect the eyes by triggering the onset of diabetic eye disease. At Optique Vision, we guide our diabetic patients with what they must do to manage their eye conditions. Please visit our clinic in Albany, New York, for an in-person consultation. Call us at 518-302-2106 to set an appointment or ask questions about our diabetic eye exam packages.

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