Diabetic Eye Problems

Diabetic Eye Problems

People with diabetes have a higher chance of developing eye problems than those who don’t have diabetes. The type of eye problems can range from minor disorders –such as dry and irritated eyes – to more serious problems, such as loss of vision and blindness. Having diabetes means your blood sugar levels of glucose is too high. This can damage your eyes in a number of ways.


When fluids inside the eye do not drain properly, it can lead to a high amount of pressure in the eye. This results in glaucoma, an eye condition which can damage the optic nerve and can eventually lead to permanent blindness.


Cataracts develop when the eye’s lens becomes blurry and clouded. It can also become difficult to focus. Anyone can get cataracts but people with diabetes can get this problem at an earlier age. There are three types of cataracts:

  • Subcapsular: occurs at the back of the lens
  • Nuclear: develops in the centre of the lens
  • Cortical: occurs in the lens context (surrounds the central nucleus)


Diabetic retinopathy takes place as a result of high blood glucose levels in the retina (the cells at the back of the eye). High glucose levels damage the tiny blood vessels that provide the blood supply to the retina. When the blood vessels are damaged, they are not able to send enough blood to the retina, which can lead to blindness.

Preventing diabetic eye problems

Having annual eye exams are very important for people with diabetes. It can identify a problem at an early stage before it develops into something worse like vision loss. Also, controlling blood glucose levels will help prevent eye problems.