Causes of Diabetic Blindness

Diabetic blindness is one of the leading contributors to all the causes of blindness in people and affects mostly the adults between the age group of 20 to 50. The people having high blood sugar levels and experiencing massive shifts in this level are the ones at highest risk of getting blind from diabetes.

Causes Diabetic Blindness

Diseases like retinopathy, cataract and glaucoma arising out of diabetic conditions are the three leading causes of diabetic blindness. These conditions can cause blindness of various degrees from weak vision to complete blindness.

Top 3 Causes of Diabetic Blindness

Diabetic Retinopathy

The commonest cause of diabetic blindness is diabetic retinopathy. The reason behind blindness caused by retinopathy is the abnormality of the blood vessels serving the retina, the light sensitive tissue in the eye that is primarily responsible for all that we see.

The vessels sometimes swell and burst releasing fluid in the eye. In the early stages, the fluid leak into the macula giving rise to a condition called macular edema. Macula is responsible for precise vision and any damage to it can cause blurring or diminished vision. In case of macular edema, this part simply swells with the fluid leading to blurred vision. The condition worsens when these broken blood vessels fail to regenerate or get blocked and the blood supply to the retina dries up.

In the later stage of retinopathy,  extra, abnormal growth of blood vessels is noted on the surface of the retina. They are generated for blood supply to the damaged area, but actually they are so fragile that they break up continuously releasing more fluid. This causes total blindness in due course.


Though there are several causes of cataract, its formation due to diabetes is among the commonest conditions. Cataract is the condition of the eye when the lens of the eye gets foggy and the person loses clear vision. The difference between other regular causes of cataract and cataract due to diabetes is that people can get it quite early in life if they have high diabetes.

Though the conditions can get very bad it can be cured as there are many treatments of cataract including the lens replacement surgery. Cataract can be a cause of blindness if it is kept untreated or if the patient suffers from a condition where surgery is not possible.


Glaucoma is another condition of the eye which may also give rise to blindness and can be caused by a diabetic condition. In this condition the fluid pressure builds up within the eye and it continues to rise when the fluid fails to drain. Such condition can damage the nerves and vessels in the eye and this condition is called glaucoma.

Diabetes is one of the major contributors to the condition and people can lose their vision in the severe cases. The worst thing about glaucoma is that the condition does not manifest well till it has reached a very advanced stage.

If a person who has a history of high diabetes wants to stay clear of such conditions that can cause diabetic blindness, then he or she should have regular eye check-ups along with all other regular check-ups done to monitor diabetes.

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