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Five ways that diabetes can impair your eyes and vision

Diabetes is a condition that impacts the body's ability to produce and use insulin. The National Eye Institute reports that diabetes can cause several eye problems, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Diabetes patients need to be aware of these possible eye risks and take precautions to safeguard their eyesight. Here are five ways that diabetes can impair your vision and eyes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition when the body cannot properly regulate blood sugar levels. Over time, excessive blood sugar levels can harm blood vessels and neurons, resulting in a number of issues. Damage to the eyes is one of the most typical effects of diabetes. Diabetes can affect the eyes in several ways, causing cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

Millions of individuals worldwide suffer from a chronic illness known as diabetes. At the same time, there are many different types of diabetes, and all forms of the disease share one common trait: high blood sugar levels. Over time, having high blood sugar can cause a number of grave health issues, including eyesight and eye impairment.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes, and it is a leading cause of blindness. The condition occurs when high blood sugar damages the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy typically develops slowly, and symptoms may not appear until the condition is advanced. Early signs of diabetic retinopathy include blurry vision and difficulty seeing at night. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to complete vision loss.

The most appropriate surgical procedure for each patient will depend on how severe their disease is, as there are several different forms of surgery that may be performed to treat diabetic retinopathy. Laser surgery is often used to treat diabetic retinopathy. The surgeon uses a laser to destroy abnormal blood vessels and seal leaking ones. In some cases, injections of anti-VEGF drugs may also be used. These drugs stop the development of new blood vessels and boost circulation. With early diagnosis and treatment, most people with diabetic retinopathy will not lose their vision.


Another illness that diabetes can increase the risk of developing is glaucoma, in which pressure builds up inside the eye and damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma can cause blindness or vision loss if it is not addressed. There are several treatment options for glaucoma. These include medications, surgery, and laser therapy. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to preventing vision loss from glaucoma. If you are diabetic, it is important to have regular eye exams to detect and treat any potential problems as early as possible.


Maculopathy refers to any damage to the macula, the small area of the retina responsible for central vision. People with diabetes are at an increased risk for maculopathy due to high blood sugar levels, which can damage blood vessels and nerves. Symptoms of maculopathy include blurred vision, dark spots, and difficulty seeing fine details. If you have diabetes, it's essential to get regular eye exams so that any signs of maculopathy can be detected early and treated appropriately. Treatment options for maculopathy include laser surgery, injections, and daily vitamins.


Diabetes can affect your eyes in several ways, including cataracts. Cataracts are when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy, making it difficult to see clearly. In people with diabetes, cataracts usually form earlier and progress faster than in those without the condition. Treatment of cataract involves removing the affected lens and replacing it with a new one.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes can cause a condition called proliferative diabetic retinopathy, which damages the blood vessels in your retina (the part of your eye that captures images). Diabetes can also damage the nerves that connect your retina to your brain, causing vision loss. In some cases, diabetes can lead to total blindness. Treatment for proliferative diabetic retinopathy usually involves surgery to repair the damaged blood vessels or to destroy the abnormal new vessels. In some instances, laser surgery may be used to treat the condition. If you have diabetes, you should visit an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) on a frequent basis so that any eye issues may be identified and treated right away.

There are several steps that people with diabetes can take to prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy, including controlling their blood sugar levels, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco use. People with diabetes should also have regular eye exams to detect and treat early signs of diabetic retinopathy. Thank you for reading!


1. Lutty GA. Effects of Diabetes on the Eye. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science [Internet]. 2013 Dec 13 [cited 2022 Jul 24];54(14):ORSF81. Available from:

2. ‌Henriques. [Diabetic eye disease]. Acta medica portuguesa [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2022 Jul 24];28(1). Available from:,only%20characterized%20by%20diabetic%20retinopathy.

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