Diabetes and the Eyes

Diabetes is a chronic disease which can cause long-term complications to many of the body’s organs including the eyes. It can cause very serious eye problems causing 10 percent of all new cases of blindness annually according to the Journal of Ophthalmology.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar. This causes disturbances within the eye which over time weaken and cause changes in the small blood vessels that nourish the retina of the eye.

When this occurs, it is called diabetic retinopathy. This can seriously affect vision and, if left untreated, cause blindness.


Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include blurred central or peripheral vision, however, no symptoms may be present depending on where the blood vessel changes are taking place in your eye’s retina. Since the disease can cause blindness early diagnosis and treatment are essential.

A yearly eye examination by your optometrist is recommended. To detect diabetic retinopathy an optometrist will look inside the eye at the retina and the blood vessels. If it is diagnosed, laser and other surgical treatments can be used to reduce the progression of the disease and reduces the risk of vision loss.

Not every diabetic patient develops retinopathy, but the chances of getting it do increase after having diabetes for several years.

To help prevent diabetic retinopathy take medications as instructed, follow a proper diet, exercise regularly, and have your eyes examined regularly.

If you suspect you may have diabetes, please see your medical doctor for a complete evaluation. It affects your entire body including the eyes and undiagnosed it can cause serious complications.

For more information on diabetes, please visit the American Diabetes Association