Mid-30s man with glasses looking away

Diabetes and the Eyes

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults. It causes damage to the eyes by affecting the small blood vessels, sometimes causing them to leak fluid into the eye, which can lead to vision loss. The good news is that with proper care, vision can often be preserved.

Possible Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Blurry vision
  • Seeing double
  • Trouble reading
  • Seeing spots or floaters
  • Pressure in the eye
  • One or both eyes hurt

Early detection can be achieved with routine eye examinations, typically annually, but diabetics may require to receive eye examinations more than once a year. Consult with your eye care professional on the best practices for you.

Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when the blood sugar levels get too high causing damage to the blood vessels within the eye. Usually there are no early symptoms of this eye disease and if left untreated can cause vision loss or blindness. The chances of getting diabetic retinopathy increase with the length of time someone has diabetes. Every diabetic should receive an annual dilated eye exam to check for eye damage.

Treatment Options

When diabetic retinopathy does occur, laser treatment to prevent fluid leakage may prevent vision loss for many years, allowing for continuation of good vision.

Reduce the Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Control blood sugar
  • Control blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Do not smoke
  • Receive regular eye examinations by an eye care professional