World Diabetes Day 2016: How can diabetes affect your eyes?

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World Diabetes Day 2016: How can diabetes affect your eyes?

Posted on : Monday 14th of November 2016

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New Delhi: If you have diabetes, chances are that you are more likely to develop a number of serious health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, foot damage and many more.

Excess of glucose, also called sugar, in your blood from diabetes also increases your risk of eye problems, such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic macular edema (DME), and the most common one being diabetic retinopathy. It may be noted that all forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss and blindness.


People with diabetes are 2 to 5 times more likely to get this condition - a clouding or fogging of the normally clear lens of the eye - than those without diabetes. Cataract, which is a leading cause of blindness in American adults, also tends to develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.


Glaucoma may occur amongst people with and without diabetes, however, diabetes nearly doubles the risk of this eye condition. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve, causing changes in vision.

Diabetic macular edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a condition that makes your retina to swell due to leaking of fluid from blood vessels within the macula. DME is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy and can cause blurry, washed-out vision.

Diabetic retinopathy

High blood sugar levels from diabetes can damage the tiny blood vessels on the retina, leading to diabetic retinopathy. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes as well as the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults.

Initially, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Symptoms, if develop, may include:

Blurry or double vision

Rings, flashing lights, or blank spots

Dark or floating spots

Pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes

Trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes

All people with diabetes mellitus - those with Type I diabetes and those with Type 2 diabetes- are at risk of diabetic retinopathy.

Therefore, people with diabetes should make regular visits to their ophthalmologists for eye exams to avoid eye problems besides controlling blood sugar and high blood pressure. Remember, treating problems early can save your vision.

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