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Can Diabetes Affect the Eyes?

The answer to this question is yes! Why? Diabetes puts you at risk of developing several complications in your eyes. Without treatment, the disease can affect your eyes over time, causing vision loss or blindness in severe cases. Early diagnosis can help avoid most eye conditions resulting from diabetes. Some of these vision diseases include:


Diabetic Macular Edema

Diabetes stems from too much sugar in your blood. It damages the minute blood vessels sitting at the rear of your retina or macula. The disease is difficult to notice when it occurs in one eye. Macular edema is a symptom of diabetic retinopathy.


Symptoms of Diabetic Macular Edema

One of the first signs of this disease is a blurry vision that exacerbates over time. Other symptoms may include:


  • Seeing dull or faded colors

  • Wavy vision even when looking straight ahead

  • Objects seem different in size when looking out of a single eye

The symptoms vary since some people may only experience mild blurry vision. In others, it may cause chronic central vision loss. Such a condition makes it difficult to perform everyday activities like driving and reading.


Risk Factors

Macular degeneration is more common in people with type 1 or 2 diabetes. Pregnant mothers are at risk of developing gestational diabetes. The longer you stay with the disease increases the chances of it affecting your eyes. Other contributing factors include high levels of cholesterol and blood pressure.

Unhealthy habits like smoking tobacco can exacerbate the disease. Race and ethnicity are also contributing factors. People of African, Indian, and Hispanic heritage often succumb to the condition.



Diabetes increases your chances of developing several forms of glaucoma. It occurs when your eyes cannot drain their fluids. It causes a buildup of pressure, which results in damage to your blood vessels and nerves. It also causes poor vision. Open-angle glaucoma is a common type of disease that is treatable with prescription medicine.

The medication helps reduce eye pressure by speeding up the drainage of aqueous humor in your eyes. It is difficult to recognize the initial symptoms of open-angle glaucoma. Visible signs may present themselves once the condition is further along with dire vision issues.


How to Prevent or Delay Diabetic Eye Diseases

You can do several things to protect your vision and reduce your chances of developing diabetic eye diseases. Periodic eye tests can help your doctor diagnose the disease in time to avoid irreversible damage. Have your optician run a dilated eye exam yearly during your annual appointments.

Staying fit improves your cardiovascular system and protects your eyes by managing diabetes. Control your blood sugar levels by having a healthy diet. When they get out of the usual range, your vision may become blurry from the misshapen lenses.

Controlling your cholesterol level and blood pressure is beneficial to your overall health. It also reduces the risks of getting the disease. If you are a smoker, consider quitting if you have diabetes or simply because of your general well-being.


Creating Awareness

The medical fraternity has set aside November to promote awareness of diabetic eye diseases. Many people are unaware of the subtle signs of diabetic eye diseases that may result in vision loss.

For more on diabetic eye diseases, visit Marshall EyeCare Physicians in Aberdeen, New Jersey. Call (732) 837-0988 to book an appointment today.

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