Diabetic Eye Care Information

Diabetes Eye Health

People with diabetes are at a higher risk for vision problems. High blood sugar can damage delicate blood vessels within your eyes. Over time, this can lead to a condition called diabetic retinopathy—which causes eye degeneration.

Other vision risks associated with diabetes include glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic macular edema (DME). All diabetic eye diseases have the potential to cause severe vision loss or even blindness.


The Causes of Diabetic Eye Disease

High blood sugar causes swelling of the veins, especially the small veins in your eyes. Over time, this pressure results in leakages and damage to surrounding tissue. Further distortion interrupts the blood supply, slowing the healing process even further.


Tips to Take Care of Diabetic Eyes

Luckily, there are several things you can do to help maintain and protect your eyes. Patients with diabetes should:

–    Schedule routine vision checkups. Consistent eye care enables your doctor to detect problems early on. The vision care professional will examine the vessels in your eyes for evidence of damage and can recommend treatment to prevent further deterioration of eye health.

–    Maintain blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is the primary cause of diabetic eye diseases, so it’s crucial to keep it under control. Normal levels slow the damage of the ocular blood vessels. A1c blood tests should be performed several times per year to monitor blood sugar levels.

–    Moderate blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in the retina, leading to eye disease, but the chances are exacerbated when combined with diabetes. Normal levels should be less than 140/80.

–    Keep an eye on cholesterol levels. A simple blood test provides insight on the good and bad cholesterol levels (HDL and LDL, respectively). Excessive LDL can cause plaque buildup in the vessels leading to the eyes, which can result in retinal vein occlusion—also known as sudden blindness.

–    Make better food choices. Eating more fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains improves overall health and stabilizes blood sugar levels.

–    Quit smoking. Each cigarette causes more damage to blood vessels and adds to the harm caused by high blood sugar. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of other problems like heart disease and throat cancer.

–    Exercise. Physical activity is a wonderful way to reduce blood sugar and blood pressure and improve overall health. Losing weight is usually a side effect and can help you maintain healthy levels.


Take responsibility for your long-term vision health by remaining proactive in treating and preventing damage caused by diabetes.