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Diabetes And Eye

People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing a number of serious health problems. Consistently high blood glucose levels can lead to serious diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves and teeth.

Eye disease (diabetic retinopathy): most people with diabetes will develop some form of eye disease (retinopathy) causing reduced vision or blindness. Consistently high levels of blood glucose, together with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are the main causes of retinopathy.

Services features

  • Everyone with diabetes is at risk of losing vision.
  • Early diagnosis and timely treatment of diabetic retinopathy can prevent sight impairment and blindness.

Diabetic eye disease is a much-feared complication of diabetes, consisting predominantly of diabetic retinopathy (DR), diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract and glaucoma, but also double vision and inability to focus. In most countries, DR is acknowledged to be one of the leading causes of blindness in the working age population with devastating personal and socioeconomic consequences, despite being potentially preventable and treatable.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs as a direct result of chronic hyperglycemia (high blood glucose), causing damage to retinal capillaries, leading to capillary leakage and blockage. It may lead to loss of vision and eventually blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss in working-age adults (20-65 years). Approximately one in three people with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy and one in ten will develop a vision threatening form of the disease.

Managing diabetes goes a long way to managing diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes management includes controlling blood pressure, blood glucose and lipid levels. This can be achieved by encouraging a healthy lifestyle and medication as required. Improved control can slow the progression of eye disease, especially when initiated soon after diabetes is diagnosed.It can be managed through regular eye checks and keeping glucose and lipid levels at or close to normal.


  • Black spots in your vision.
  • Flashes of light.
  • "Holes" in your vision.
  • Blurred vision.
What is diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic eye disease may include:
Diabetic retinopathy damage to the blood vessels in the retina.
Cataract clouding of the eye's lens. Cataracts develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.
Glaucoma - increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision. A person with diabetes is nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma as other adults.

Who is at risk for diabetic retinopathy?

All people with diabetes - both type 1 and type 2 - are at risk.
High blood sugar (glucose) increases the risk of eye problems from diabetes. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20 to 74.
During pregnancy, diabetic retinopathy may be a problem for women with diabetes.
In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20 to 74.


CATARACT - During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed or cleaned out and replaced by a clear man-made lens.
GLAUCOMA - Treatment of this eye problem in diabetes can include special eye drops, laser procedures, medicine, or surgery. Surgery and laser treatments are directed at improving the eye's aqueous drainage.
DIABETIC RETINOPATHY - Treatment of diabetic retinopathy may involve laser procedures or surgery.


All people with diabetes should take precautions to help reduce their risk of developing eye problems. Here are some eye care tips:

  • Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor so that any eye problem can be detected early and treated. Everyone with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.
  • Maintain control of your blood glucose levels.
  • Keep your blood pressure under control. High blood pressure by itself can lead to eye disease, so if you have high blood pressure as well as diabetes, it is especially important that you take steps to control both conditions.
  • Get your blood cholesterol levels under control.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.
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