How Diabetes Damages Your Eyes

Diabetes affects many areas of your health, including your eyes. The progression of damage is so slow that you may suddenly find yourself with a severe eye problem and loss of vision. If you have diabetes, frequent eye exams are needed to catch any problems before they affect your vision. Here are the three major eye issues you may see as a result of your diabetes.


Your body normally keeps a constant pressure in the eye with a fluid called vitreous humor. Diabetes causes an increase in production of this fluid and restricts it from draining out of the eye. This results in an increase in the pressure in the eye. When the pressure is severe, the retina can be damaged and you may lose part of your sight.

Your eye doctor will monitor the pressure in your eye. Before it reaches dangerous levels, you can be prescribed eye drops to reduce the pressure. In cases of severe pressure, an eye surgeon will make tiny openings in the eye to allow some of the fluid to escape. The surgery may need to be repeated as the disease progresses to prevent a dangerous build up of pressure in your eye.


Diabetes accelerates the formation of cataracts. They will develop slowly and you'll gradually need more light to see clearly. Cataract surgery easily takes care of the problem. The lenses in your eyes are removed and artificial lenses are inserted in their place. The artificial lenses are resistant to any future cataracts developing in them.

Diabetic Retinopathy

This is the most serious of all the diabetes-related eye disease. Diabetes weakens the blood vessels in the eyes, causing fluid to leak out and scar tissue to develop over the retina. The damage to the retina can be so severe as to cause partial blindness. Regular diabetic eye exams are needed to catch any signs of this condition. You may notice no symptoms until the damage is severe.

When detected early, your eye doctor can treat the weak blood vessels and prevent any loss of vision. Injections in the eye slow down the development of the blood vessels. Laser surgery can be done to destroy the blood vessels and stop the fluid leak. Once the disease has started, you'll likely need to have these treatments repeated regularly to prevent vision loss.

Any damage already done to your vision can't be reversed. This condition is not curable but the progression of the disease can be slowed down. Contact a clinic, such as Tri State Ophthalmology, for more information.