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5 Ways Diabetes Can Affect the Eyes

You probably know that diabetes can affect your heart health. But you may not realize that it can also impact the health of your eyes.

Diabetic eye disease is the name used for a group of eye conditions that can affect people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. However, developing diabetic eye disease is not inevitable. If you have diabetes, you can protect your eyes by understanding what these conditions are and the steps you can take to prevent them.

At Advanced Laser & Eye Center of Arizona, home of, our eye care specialists are highly trained in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diabetic eye disease. Here, we share some important information about how diabetes can affect your eyes.

How diabetes can affect your eyes

Diabetes is a disease linked to higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar (blood glucose). When blood sugar levels are too high, blood vessels in various parts of your body — including those in your eyes — can become damaged. This can lead to conditions such as:

1. Diabetic retinopathy

This issue can occur when your retina — the structure in the back of your eye that transmits signals to your brain — becomes damaged by blood vessels that leak, swell, or close off. In some cases, diabetic retinopathy can cause abnormal new blood vessels to grow and interfere with your vision.

2. Diabetic macular edema

The macula is the part of your retina that helps you see clearly. High blood sugar can weaken the macula, contributing to blurriness, vision reduction, or even blindness caused by a condition known as diabetic macular edema.

3. Cataracts

Cataracts develop when the clear lenses in your eyes become cloudy. Although anyone can develop cataracts, which are fairly common with age, they may occur earlier in people with diabetes, and you may need cataract surgery to correct the condition.

4. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition in which the nerves that connect your eyes and your brain become damaged. Although anyone can develop glaucoma, it’s twice as prevalent in people with diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause vision reduction or blindness.

5. Vision changes

Not all diabetic eye conditions lead to vision changes. However, blurry vision, trouble focusing, or other changes could suggest a problem that calls for evaluation.

Protecting your vision

If you have diabetes, you can care for your vision and reduce your risk of eye disease by taking the following steps:

One of the best ways to safeguard your eye health is by having dilated eye exams once a year, or more often if your provider recommends it.

Our eye specialists at Advanced Laser & Eye Center of Arizona have extensive experience treating patients with diabetes. Contact us today to schedule a visit by calling the office nearest you or booking online. Our offices are conveniently located in Gilbert, Chandler, and Queen Creek, Arizona, and we also offer services through our mobile eye clinic.

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