Does Diabetes Affect the Eyes?

Diabetes causes your body to have issues processing food as energy. Either the body does not produce enough insulin or it does not respond to insulin. This leads to too much glucose in the bloodstream and causes damage to nerves and blood vessels. The impairment runs throughout the body and extends to the eyes.


So, how does diabetes affect the eyes? It has the ability to cause the following:




Diabetes affects the nerves in your body. One of these is the optic nerve. Its damage can result in glaucoma. Neovascular glaucoma, in particular, results from diabetes. It first starts with damage to the blood vessels. The high glucose in your body damages the retinal blood vessels. 

Hence, the body forms new ones, but these new blood vessels have thin walls that cannot withstand blood flow pressure. They consequently leak into the eye. The fluid increases intraocular pressure and damages your optic nerve. The symptoms are subtle and easy to miss; you may not notice them until it is too late.


Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in American adults. It results from damage to the retinal blood vessels. Too much glucose in the bloodstream causes them to balloon and form a microaneurysm. They can also leak or form other blood vessels that leak. 

The fluid leads to the formation of scar tissue. These can damage the retina. Over time, it can cause retinal detachment, which can cause vision loss. To mitigate this, schedule regular comprehensive eye exams. They will help the doctor catch any signs early and start you on treatment.


Macular Edema

The macula is the central part of the retina that provides sharp, clear, and straight vision. High glucose levels in the bloodstream can cause it to swell. The swelling may be minor, but it can get serious without treatment and result in blurry or distorted vision. The eventual result is vision loss.

Macular edema has silent symptoms. Without regular eye exams, the disease can become severe. Schedule regular eye exams if you have diabetes. Otherwise, you may miss the symptoms of these eye diseases.


Blurry Vision

Elevated blood sugar can lead to blurry vision for one reason or another. When you notice this, it means you need to lower your blood sugar levels right away. High glucose levels cause the natural eye lens to bulge. However, when you take note and do what is necessary to return it to a normal range, your vision clears and the lens regains its usual shape. You can go about your daily activities without hindrance.



Cataracts are an age-related eye disease that affects the natural lens. It prevents light from entering the eye and causes blurry vision due to cloudy buildup in the lens. It can develop fast in people with diabetes due to high sugar levels in their blood. The most effective treatment is to replace the natural lens with an artificial one. The procedure involves surgery. It is safe, and with the proper care, it has no complications.


For more information on how diabetes affects your eyes, contact San Marcos Vision Center at our office in San Marcos, Texas. Call (512) 890-0660 to book an appointment today.

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