What Your Eye Doctor Wants You To Know About Diabetes

Health & Medical Blog

Among the other problems that diabetes causes, damage to your eyes is one of the most severe. In some cases, diabetes can cause you to lose part or all of your sight. While you can't stop the impact of diabetes on your eyes, frequent eye exams and early treatment when you have signs of a problem can slow down the loss of vision. Here are the most common eye issues caused by diabetes and how they are treated.


A gel-like material fills your eye to help it keep its shape. Your eye is constantly producing this material. Pores in the eye allow the gel to escape to maintain an even pressure in the eye. Diabetes disrupts this mechanism and causes the pressure in your eye to increase.

The eye pressure puts stress on the retina and can cause the following symptoms:

  • blurry vision
  • rings of light, called halos, around bright objects
  • difficulty focusing on individual objects

If the pressure in your eye becomes so great that it damages the retina, you could experience partial blindness.

Some of the ways your eye doctor can treat glaucoma include:

  • use of eye drops to decrease the pressure in the eye
  • surgical creation of additional channels in the eye through which excess gel can escape


Your eye naturally deposits protein fibers in the lens to protect the eye from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Diabetes causes a build up of those fibers into a dense, translucent mass in the lens, called a cataract. The cataract restricts the amount of light coming into the eye causing the following symptoms:

  • inability to focus on objects
  • needing more light to read

The process can't be slowed down, but your eye doctor can remove the cataract and replace it with an artificial lens. This man-made lens gives some vision correction, like the natural lens, but it is not affected by a build up of protein fibers.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes can damage the retina enough to cause a permanent loss of all or part of your vision. The cause is the development of new, weak blood vessels in the eye on the retina. Two problems occur when these blood vessels appear:

  • Fluid leaks out of the weak blood vessels onto the retina. As the fluid accumulates, light is blocked from the retina making your vision blurry.
  • Scar tissue is created by the weak blood vessels that pulls on the retina. Should the scars detach the retina from the back of the eye, partial or complete blindness can occur.

Your eye doctor will try to slow down the damage caused by these weak blood vessels with medication or surgery. Any existing loss of vision cannot be restored. Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy is critical to prevent it from affecting your vision.  


26 April 2016

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