Diabetes and Your Eyes: What You Need to Know

Diabetes and Your Eyes: What You Need to Know

Diabetes affects the entire body, including your eyes. If you are diabetic, it is important to understand the effects that diabetes can have on your eyes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that can affect anyone with diabetes, but it’s most common in people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels in the eye become damaged. This damage can cause swelling, blood leakage, and cloudiness in the vision field. Over time, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness.

Common symptoms include floaters, blurry vision, seeing spots before your eyes, and persistent vision loss. All of these are signs that you should get your vision exam immediately! Symptoms can often be treated with medication, so be sure to contact your doctor right away if you experience any changes in your vision.

The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy don’t usually appear until several years after the blood sugar first becomes elevated. That means that the sooner you begin treating your diabetes and controlling your blood sugar, the less likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy. That’s why it’s important to get regular eye exams. Contact your dentist today to set up an appointment for your annual checkup!

Diabetic Macular Edema

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which is a leading cause of blindness in adults in the United States. The condition develops when the small blood vessels in the retina begin to leak blood or fluid into the eye. As the vessels continue to leak, they can eventually close off and lead to retinal damage. In addition, high blood sugar itself can damage the small blood vessels in the eyes, a condition known as diabetic macular edema. This condition is characterized by blurred central vision.

Glandular dysfunction, or poor functioning of the fluid-producing glands in the eyes, can be due to both high blood sugar and high blood pressure. This can cause an increase in intraocular pressure in the eye. If untreated, it can cause damage to the optic nerve and eventually lead to blindness.

People can develop diabetic glaucoma at any age; however, the risk increases with age. It’s important to have your eyes checked regularly by an ophthalmologist. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, a treatment plan may include medication to lower your eye pressure and management of your diabetes and blood pressure. Regular eye exams are also important to ensure your eyes are healthy. 

Diabetic Cataracts

People with diabetes are more likely to have cataracts at a younger age than people without diabetes. In fact, the risk for cataracts in diabetics is so high that doctors often recommend people with diabetes undergo cataract surgery as soon as their condition is stable enough to undergo anesthesia. Early surgery can prevent vision loss that results from diabetic cataracts. If your eye doctor diagnoses you with cataracts, he or she may also refer you to an ophthalmologist who specializes in eye surgery for diabetics for further care.

If left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to blindness. However, there are treatments available that can slow or stop the progression of cataracts as well as restore vision if it becomes impaired. If you suspect you have cataracts, make an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist for treatment as soon as possible.

At Summerlin Vision, we firmly believe that everyone should have regular comprehensive eye exams. We are located at 900 S Pavilion Center Dr #140, Las Vegas, NV 89144. You can also reach us at (702) 243-8788 and schedule an appointment.


900 S Pavilion Center Dr #140,
Las Vegas, NV 89144

Office Hours

MON - THU8:30 am - 5:00 pm

FRIBy appointments only

SAT - SUNClosed