3 Major Eye Problems With Diabetes

Diabetes can cause an eye problem or aggravate an existing one. In both cases, there is harm to the diabetic; an eye problem is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. adults. In order to have a good vision, your retina (which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye) must be healthy one. Eye problems with diabetes can occur when the tiny blood vessels inside your retina get damaged.

Unattended high blood glucose level is the primary cause behind complications of diabetes, including eye problems. The fact that you may not essentially notice any abnormality or symptom(s) makes the matter more alarming. It is extremely essential to know the problem in order to treat it. Here is a listing of the commonly found eye problems with diabetes.

Common Eye Problems With Diabetes


When the normally clear lens of the eye gets clouded, there is problem in vision. When you have cataract, you experience a cloudy portion in your eye which hinders focus and impairs vision. Symptoms may also appear as blurred vision or glared vision. Although cataract is not restricted to being diabetic, the risk increases when you are suffering from this illness. Diabetics can get cataract at an early age and can deteriorate the condition progressively.


Glaucoma is an eye problem owing to inappropriate drainage of eye fluid. Due to improper draining of the eye fluid, there is excessive pressure inside the eye which can potentially damage the blood vessels and nerves of the eye. Glaucoma causes change in vision. A research found that diabetics had an increased risk of developing open-angle-glaucoma (OAG). Diabetics with hypertension can elevate their risks to developing OAG, which is the most common form of glaucoma in the U.S. Globally, glaucoma is a major cause of irreversible blindness.

Since OAG symptoms generally do not appear distinctly until their progression and damaging effects, treatment gets delayed and there is likelihood of vision loss. Elevated intraocular pressure, family history and increasing age puts people at risk for the illness. Headaches, eye aches, watering eyes and blurred vision are some other milder outcomes of the illness.

Diabetics are also more prone to another type of glaucoma known as neovascular glaucoma. Here, new blood vessels grow on the iris which hinders the normal flow of fluid out of the eye. This leads to increased eye pressure. Regular eye checkups are crucial to treatment procedures.


Diabetic retinopathy, which is the most widely observed eye problem, is the result of changes in the blood vessels of the retina. Anyone with diabetes can get retinopathy and the risk increases with prolonged incidence of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is a vascular (blood-vessel related) complication related to diabetes. This eye problem occurs due to damage of small vessels (micro vascular complication). High blood sugar levels are believed to be the main reason behind this micro vascular complication among the diabetics. Diabetic retinopathy can cause irreversible blindness and should be treated promptly.

Type 1 diabetics usually do not experience retinopathy before puberty. In type 1 adult diabetics, retinopathy is usually observed after five years of diabetes. Type 2 diabetics usually experience signs of eye problems during diagnosis. Control of blood sugar, blood pressure and blood cholesterol is important in slowing the progression of retinopathy and other eye problems.

Retinopathy can be of three types – background retinopathy, maculopathy and proliferative retinopathy. Background retinopathy, which can be prevented from progressing, occurs due to the damage in blood vessels although there is no vision problem. Maculopathy, which is the damage of the macula, can deter vision. Proliferative retinopathy is a micro vascular complication of diabetes.

Keeping Check and Control is the Key

Diabetic eye problems should be kept under check through regular dilated eye examinations.These are extremely important in bringing out an illness promptly and crucial for the first line of treatment. Tight blood sugar control is also very much required to prevent complications when you are diabetic. When you are diabetic, high blood sugar can lead to swelling of the lens of the eye. Your normal vision is disturbed which can be only regained after exercising tight sugar control.  Furthermore, blurred vision can also be indicative of a more serious eye problem as those discussed above.

Besides blood glucose control, abstinence from smoking, control over high blood pressure and cholesterol are essential to hinder the development of new vessels from forming. Diabetics are twice as likely to suffer from cataracts or glaucoma as against the non-diabetics. Keeping a watch over potential problems can hinder them from becoming too troubling and life-threatening. Many studies reveal that treatments may not reverse damage once it is done.

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