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How Diabetes Affects Eyes

woman with hazel eyes
September 29, 2022

Diabetes affects eyes in multiple ways and it is our job to protect you from the damage it can cause. To learn more about our services, read on or contact us today.

woman with hazel eyes

How Diabetes Affects Eyes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. The body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells don’t respond properly to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body turn sugar into energy. When diabetes is not controlled, it can lead to other health problems, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and eye diseases. It is possible for diabetes to lead to serious complications throughout the body, including in the eyes. So, let’s look at how diabetes affects eyes.

What are the different types of diabetes?

There are four main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and prediabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. With this form of diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It usually develops in adults, but children are increasingly being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. With this form of diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not respond properly to insulin. Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy. If it is not controlled, it can lead to health problems for both the mother and baby. Prediabetes means that a person’s blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 1, 2 or gestational diabetes.

How does diabetes affect eyes?

Diabetes can cause several eye problems, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a serious example of how diabetes affects eyes and can lead to blindness. It occurs when diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina, the back part of the eye. These damaged blood vessels leak fluids or become blocked. As a result, the retina swells and vision is blurred.  Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.


A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. Clouding can make it more difficult to see. Diabetes increases the risk of developing cataracts. People with diabetes are also more likely to develop cataracts at an earlier age than people who don’t have diabetes because diabetes speeds up the ageing process, therefore breaking down the eye’s proteins faster.


Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the nerve that sends images from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma usually occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye and increases pressure inside the eye. Diabetes affects eyes by increasing the risk of developing glaucoma by 40 percent.

What are the symptoms of diabetes-related eye problems?

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy usually don’t cause any symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

  • blurred vision
  • difficulty seeing at night
  • floaters (spots in your vision)
  • flashes of light
  • increased sensitivity to light

Cataracts and glaucoma usually develop slowly and don’t cause pain. The early stages of these diseases may not cause any symptoms. As the diseases progress, symptoms may include

  • blurry vision
  • dark spots in your vision
  • decreased ability to see colours
  • decreased ability to see at night
  • eye pain
  • headache
  • nausea

How Can Dolphins Optometrists Help?

Diabetes affects eyes in many different, ways, however, thanks to our revolutionary technology, we can help you. One way in which we help is through our retinal imaging. This is a quick and painless test that can be completed in our clinic. The test takes wide angle pictures of the back of your eye and allows us to see any diabetes-related damage to the blood vessels. This is important because it allows us to catch any problems early before they cause vision loss.

At Dolphins Optometrists, we also offer a comprehensive eye exam, which includes testing for diabetes-related eye problems. During the exam, we will check for signs of diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. We will also check your eyes for other common problems, such as dry eye and age-related macular degeneration. If we find any problems, we will work with you to create a treatment plan that is right for you.

If you would like to learn more, explore our website or contact us today at 01444 454 808 or

Article: Phoenix Marketing

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