How Diabetes Affects the Eyes? | 5 Tips to Avoid it

  • By: Joseph Benson
  • Time to read: 9 min.

How diabetes affects the eyes? Diabetes can cause a variety of health complications, particularly for the eyes. Although regular eye-exams may be recommended by your physician, you should check whether you have any of the most common signs.

Diabetes has been linked to diabetic retinopathy and cataract formation. Diabetic retinopathy is the deterioration of blood vessels in the retina.

In most cases, this is linked to poor control of blood sugar with insulin or other medications. Diabetes can also cause damage to the lens or capsule that encloses the lens of the eye, which is called lens opacities or cataracts.

Diabetes is a disorder in which body does not use the glucose properly. Insufficient production of insulin is the cause of diabetes. Glucose is the main source of energy for our body.

In diabetes, body cells don’t use this energy because its not getting into cells due to flow restriction. But excess glucose does not remain as glucose and converts into other compounds likesome due to formation of acetyl CoA.

This leads to severe energy crisis in cells and then there is no production of enzymes that are required for conversion of food into energy. As a result, blood sugar level increases significantly leading to diabetes

Key points

  • How diabetes affects the eyes?
  • How can you tell if diabetes is affecting your eyes?
  • Which type of diabetes affects the eyes?
  • Can diabetes blurred vision be corrected?
  • How to prevent diabetic eye problems?
How Diabetes Affects the Eyes

How diabetes affects the eyes?

Diabetes can affect the eyes in many ways. Diabetes is a disease that causes too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. Glucose comes from the food we eat, and our bodies use it for energy.

When you don’t have enough insulin or your body doesn’t respond to insulin as it should, glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells to give them energy.

Poor blood circulation to the eyes causes two common eye problems: diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that damages the retina, which is a layer of tissue on the back of your eye.

It occurs when high blood sugar levels cause small blood vessels in your retina to become weak and leaky. The leaking blood forms new, fragile vessels that may bleed and grow abnormally large, resulting in vision loss if not treated promptly.

Diabetic retinopathy can also cause scarring within your retina (neovascularization), which can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated.

Over time, this damage can lead to glaucoma, which is a major cause of blindness among people with diabetes. Glaucoma occurs when pressure builds up inside the eye, damaging nerve cells and leading to vision loss.

The other major complication of diabetes that affects vision is diabetic retinopathy. In this condition, blood vessels in the retina become damaged and leak fluid or bleed into it.

The leaking or bleeding causes scarring that blocks light from reaching the retina and may eventually lead to blindness if left untreated.

Blurred vision. Diabetes may cause blurred vision, which may be a sign of poor blood sugar control.

Cataracts. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye that can make it difficult to see clearly. Cataracts are more common in people with diabetes than people who don’t have diabetes.

Glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition that increases pressure within the eye, damaging the optic nerve and causing loss of vision if it’s not controlled.

Glaucoma is more common in people with diabetes than people who don’t have diabetes and can occur at any age but is often seen in older adults and African Americans.

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How Diabetes Affects the Eyes

How can you tell if diabetes is affecting your eyes?

If you have diabetes, you are more likely to develop eye problems. It’s important to keep your eyes healthy and to see an eye doctor if they begin to change. Some changes can be treated by your primary care doctor, while others may require a specialist.

The following signs may mean that diabetes is affecting your eyes:

Blurred vision

Floaters (tiny floating spots in the field of vision)

Eye pain or irritation

Sudden loss of vision

Unusual pupil size or shapes

Glaucoma, which is an increased pressure inside the eye that can cause damage to the optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to blindness. It’s usually treated with eye drops or surgery.

Diabetic retinopathy, a condition in which blood vessels at the back of the eye (retina) become damaged and bleed or swell. This can cause blurry vision and sometimes loss of vision.

Diabetic retinopathy is usually treated with laser treatment or medication that helps to prevent new blood vessel growth on the retina.

Some patients may also have cataracts (clouding of the lens), which can affect their ability to see clearly, especially when driving at night or in poor light conditions. Cataracts are usually removed surgically but this doesn’t always restore normal vision completely.

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults 20-74 years old in the United States.

The retina has millions of tiny blood vessels that nourish it with oxygen and nutrients. If diabetes isn’t well controlled, these vessels can become damaged and leak fluid or blood into surrounding tissues.

As this happens, new blood vessels may grow in the wrong places, which can distort vision and lead to permanent vision loss. Blood vessels normally allow nutrients and oxygen to pass through easily.

When a person has diabetes, however, these microscopic blood vessels often become clogged with fat and cholesterol deposits over time.

This blocks the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the retina (the light-sensitive nerve tissue at the back of the eye). If this happens over time, it can lead to blindness or other serious complications such as macular degeneration (which causes blurry vision).

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How Diabetes Affects the Eyes

Which type of diabetes affects the eyes?

Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood and is caused by the body’s failure to make insulin. A person with type 1 diabetes needs to take insulin every day to stay alive.

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still makes some insulin, but not enough. As a result, blood sugar levels are too high. Over time, high blood sugar damages blood vessels and nerves throughout the body, including those in the eyes.

This damage can make you more likely to get eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy (DR). DR is one of the leading causes of blindness among adults 20 to 74 years old.

It’s a major complication of diabetes that occurs when blood vessels in your retina which is at the back of your eye become damaged and start leaking blood or protein into your retina or vitreous gel inside your eye cavity.

The leaking blood or protein can affect how well you see and cause vision loss if it isn’t treated promptly.

Diabetic retinopathy affects the blood vessels in your retina, causing them to leak or swell up. This can lead to bleeding in the retina or damage to the optic nerve both of which can lead to vision loss if left untreated.

The longer you have diabetes and the higher your blood sugar levels are over time, the greater your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. This means that people who have had diabetes for a long time are at greater risk than those who’ve had it for only a few years.

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How Diabetes Affects the Eyes

Can diabetes blurred vision be corrected?

Diabetes can cause blurred vision, especially in the morning. This is because your eyes are more sensitive to glucose than normal, and the glucose levels in your blood tend to be higher in the morning than later in the day.

There are several ways to correct diabetes-related blurred vision:

Maintain good blood sugar control. If you have type 1 diabetes, you might want to consider using an insulin pump because it can help keep your blood sugar more even throughout the day.

Also keep in mind that eating sweets or other carbohydrates before bedtime can cause a spike in blood sugar levels overnight and worsen your morning vision.

Take off your glasses or contacts before eating. If you wear contacts or glasses, place them on top of your head instead of putting them on right after eating a meal, which may further increase your risk of blurry vision or double vision (diplopia).

Get enough sleep at night. The better rested you feel when you get up in the morning, the better able you’ll be to focus on objects clearly.

Don’t go out without sunglasses if there’s any chance of bright sunlight hitting your eyes first thing in the morning it could worsen any existing blurriness!

Ask your doctor about using certain medications, like beta-blockers and alpha-agonists (often used for high blood pressure), that can help reduce eye pressure.

Wear protective eyewear when doing anything that might cause damage to your eyesight, such as playing contact sports or using power tools around the house.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and blurred vision has developed, see a qualified eye care professional to determine if you have diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes and can lead to blindness if not treated early on.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina, the part of your eye that senses light. As these blood vessels leak fluid into the retina, they can swell up and block normal vision.

Because high blood sugar levels are often associated with diabetes, it’s important to keep your glucose levels under control by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and taking prescribed medications as instructed by your doctor.

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How Diabetes Affects the Eyes

How to prevent diabetic eye problems?

Diabetic eye disease is the most common cause of blindness in people who have diabetes. Your risk of getting eye problems depends on how well you control your blood sugar and whether you have other health problems such as high blood pressure or kidney disease.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to get regular checkups with an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). The earlier diabetic eye disease is diagnosed, the better your chances of stopping it before it causes vision loss.

How to prevent diabetic eye problems:

Keep your blood glucose under control.

Control any other conditions that may affect your eyes, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. See an eye doctor at least once a year for a dilated eye exam to look for signs of early diabetic retinopathy (DR).

Diabetes can cause many serious health problems, including eye disease. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye problem for people with diabetes.

It’s a condition in which blood vessels in the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) swell and leak fluid. Diabetes also can lead to other types of retinal damage. Diabetes increases your risk of getting cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens, while glaucoma damages optic nerve fibers and can lead to blindness if untreated. AMD causes progressive vision loss that results in blurred vision.

The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to help prevent these conditions and reduce their effects if they occur: Keep your blood glucose under control through diet, exercise and medication if necessary.

The American Diabetes Association recommends checking your blood glucose levels four times a day before meals and using insulin if needed. Talk with your doctor about how to manage your diabetes effectively.

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How Diabetes Affects the Eyes


Type 2 diabetes and high glucose have a serious impact on the eyes. Although there are some treatment options that can help photophobia associated with diabetes, it is still very important to maintain stable levels of glucose.

Research has proven that the earlier patients address their blood sugar, the less likely serious effects will be seen on the body, including the eyes. Because of this, all diabetic patients should work closely with their doctors in order to help monitor eye health.

Diabetes can cause a number of health issues and the eyes is often the first to show signs of complications. Diabetic eye disease can lead to blindness if not treated properly.

If you are reading this and you have diabetic retinopathy, it is important that you schedule an appointment with your eye doctor right away. The eye is the most affected organ in diabetic patients because it receives maximum stress from diabetes.

In earlier stages, this stress only causes inconvenience to the patient. As the disease progresses, a diabetic’s vision is likely to get worse and both eyes are at risk. Diabetes has a variety of complications , one of which is the high risk of developing cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.

These eye conditions occur because high blood glucose levels can damage blood vessels in the body, which may lead to clouding over of the lens in the eyes. In addition to this condition, diabetes can also cause other types of retinal damage, including tears and scarring.

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