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Diabetes and Eye Health: Understanding the Link

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Diabetes can affect the whole body, and this includes the eyes. Untreated, diabetic eye diseases can cause vision loss. The good news is that if you detect these issues early, you can do something about them, preserving healthy eyesight for a longer period of time.

Let’s explore what the conditions to look out for are, and then what we can do about them to protect your vision.

If you suspect you have diabetes or have recently been diagnosed, it’s a very good idea to book an eye exam with your optometrist. The Premier Medical Eye Group is ready to provide professional eyecare to help you see clearer; book an appointment today to get started.

How Diabetes Can Negatively Affect Vision

Diabetic Retinopathy

In the early stages of this condition, blood vessels at the back of the eye can weaken, bulge, and leak. This can damage the retina, which is the part of the eye that turns the light it receives into signals that the brain can understand. Over time, new blood vessels will grow to try and replace the damaged ones, causing symptoms such as:

  • Gradually worsening vision
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Shapes in your field of vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain or redness

With diabetic retinopathy, changes in your vision can occur so slowly that you may not even notice. This makes regular eye exams vital so that you can spot it early and start taking action.

Treatment options often include:

  • Medication
  • Laser treatment
  • Surgery

Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages and you should consult with your optometrist about which option is the best for you.

Diabetic Macular Edema

The Macula is a part of the retina responsible for central vision, allowing you to read and recognize faces. Diabetes can cause this part of the eye to swell, causing these symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Gradually worsening vision

Macular edema can happen in one or both eyes, which can make it difficult to detect at first. Regular eye exams can help detect this condition early so that you address it. Macular edema is often treated in one of four ways:

  • Medication
  • Eye drops
  • Surgery
  • Laser treatment


Glaucoma occurs when high pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve, which connects your eyes to the brain. Certain types of glaucoma can be triggered by diabetic retinopathy, making early screenings crucial for patients who live with diabetes. Glaucoma can cause these symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Gradual loss of peripheral vision
  • Severe eye pain
  • Colored rings around lights


Cataracts happen when the lens of your eye becomes clouded, leading to cloudy vision that gradually gets worse. Over time, elevated blood sugars associated with diabetes can cause structural changes of the eye’s crystalline lens and cataract formation. Symptoms of cataracts often include:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Colors appear faded or yellowed
  • Poor night vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seeing halos around lights

Thankfully, cataracts can be treated with surgery that is regarded as safe and effective.

While all of these conditions are unique, they have one thing in common: early detection is crucial. The sooner you detect these conditions, the sooner you can start delaying their progress and preserve healthy.

Diabetic Eye Care in Mobile

The team at the Premier Medical Eye Group is ready to perform your routine eye care and help you protect your vision for many years to come. Book an appointment today and get ahead of your visual health.