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Nov 13

Diabetic Eye Disease and How to Prevent It

Diabetes can be difficult enough on anyone who suffers from it. Among the various complications that come from this disease: eye conditions. These are often specific to diabetes sufferers, and can make a bad condition worse. All of these conditions have the capability of causing blindness.

However, for those who do have diabetes, it’s not a guarantee. Early detection and proper treatment can save your vision, if you know to look for it early on.

Eye Conditions

Diabetic Retinopathy

This is the most common cause of vision loss among diabetes sufferers. Chronically high blood sugar affects the blood vessels within your retina, causing them to leak or bleed. In turn, this causes vision distortion and may lead to blindness.

Diabetic Macular Edema

A direct effect of diabetic retinopathy, DME causes swelling in the retina, specifically in an area called the macula. The macula is responsible for the sharp, straight-ahead vision that allows you to read, recognize faces, and pick out detail. This too can lead to vision problems and blindness.


Cataracts cloud the eye’s lens, slowly distorting and closing off vision. Adults with diabetes are 2-5 times more likely to develop cataracts than those without. Also, cataracts tend to develop earlier in life for those who have diabetes.


Unlike the other conditions, glaucoma affects the optic nerve, which connects your eye to your brain. Many cases of glaucoma are a result of pressure on the nerve. Worse, glaucoma starts with no symptoms, so it can be hard to detect early on. Those with diabetes usually have double the risk for contracting glaucoma.


Though the risk for eye conditions is higher with diabetes, you can save your vision and prevent blindness with early treatment.

The earliest stages of glaucoma, DME, and diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms until they begin affecting your vision. So it’s important to keep a close eye on your sight. Also, get a comprehensive eye exam once per year. While you’re there, be sure to get your eyes dilated. Your eye doctor can catch the symptoms better with the dilation.

Should you have one of these diseases, they are treatable. Many times your doctor can treat them via injections or other medication, or by laser surgery.

In the meantime, you can prevent the onset of eye diseases by:

  • Staying active
  • Using diabetes medication(s) as directed
  • Keeping a healthy diet


If you are concerned about your vision or how your diabetes may affect you, contact us today!

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