Diabetes and Eyes

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Published: 20th July 2012
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Persistent high glucose in the blood for a long time indicates that the patient is suffering from Diabetes. High glucose level in the blood for long time can harm many parts of the body, such as the heart, blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys. Eyes are the most vulnerable among organs that are affected by high sugar levels. A patient suffering from diabetes for a long time is likely to develop eye problems. Many eye problems caused due to diabetes are discussed below.

Temporary Blurring

The persistent high sugar level is capable of affecting lens inside the eye adversely. High sugar can cause temporary blurring of vision. This blurring of vision can come and go across the day. The blurring of vision is also seen as early symptoms of diabetes. It could also result due to uncontrolled diabetes. This blurring could be easily treated by maintaining a healthy sugar level.


Diabetes could also result into cataract in the eyes. A cataract is clouding of the lens of the eye. Due to development of cataract the patient may suffer from blurred or dimmed vision. People suffering from diabetes are at risk of developing cataract in early age, otherwise this eye problem is normally associated with ageing. Due to high sugar level lens of the eye gets affected and cataract could develop. The treatment for cataract is removing the cloudy lens through a surgical procedure and replacing them with artificial lens.


Glaucoma is another eye problem, which could affect a diabetic patient. Due to high blood pressure a pressure starts building up in the eye and damages eye’s main nerve-the optic nerve with the time. This damage could causes loss of sight from the sides of eyes in its early stage. Later, if it is left untreated, the whole eye can be affected. To treat Glaucoma eye drops are used to lower the pressure in the eyes. But if it has progressed in advanced stage, patient may need laser surgery for its treatment.

Diabetic Retinopathy

One of the most serious health complications associated with Diabetes is development of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is caused due to damaged blood vessels of the retina. The layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye is called retina. Its function is to change light and images entering to the eye into nerve signals, which reaches brain and due to this we can see. Retina damage does not happen all of a sudden, it takes place slowly. Retina has tiny blood vessels. High level of sugar in blood or high blood pressure could easily damage these tiny blood vessels. Due to high sugar level these tiny blood vessels start to swell and become weak. Later some of them get blocked and blood supply to eye is disturbed. This results in problems with vision. Patients may even lose their eye sight forever.

There are two stages of diabetic retinopathy:

Non proliferative stage
Proliferative stage
In Non Proliferative stage blood vessels in the eye become larger in certain spots. It is known as micro aneurysms. There may be a blockage in any of the blood vessels in the retina or any amounts of bleeding and fluid leaking into the retina. This bleeding may be caused due to retinal haemorrhages.

In proliferative stage of diabetic retinopathy new blood vessels start to grow in the eye that are fragile and can bleed. There may also be small scars on the retina and in other parts of the eye called the vitreous.


Maculopathy means that the macula of the patient is also adversely affected. It affects the central vision of the patient and he finds it difficult to see detail such as recognising people’s faces in the distance or reading small print. It is mostly treated with laser and it is tried to save as much vision as possible.

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