Ways Diabetes Can Affect Eyes

  • Cataracts

While developing cataracts is extremely common and a part of the eyes natural aging process, people with diabetes can develop cataracts earlier and faster. Cataracts are caused by the eyes ageing, becoming cloudy and more rigid. Symptoms of cataracts tend to be blurred vision and glare or halos, especially at night time. Cataracts are usually easily removed by undergoing cataract surgery and in its place an artificial intraocular lens is implanted to restore vision.

  • Glaucoma

Glaucoma is caused by an increase in the eye’s pressure. Pressure develops when the eye’s fluid cannot be drained as normal. This can then cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves within the eye leading to impaired vision, and if not monitored and treated correctly, can cause blindness. If you have diabetes, you are more likely to develop a rare glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma. This type of rare glaucoma is caused when new blood vessels develop and grow on the iris, which is the coloured part of the eye, and this blocks the normal flow of eye fluid and in turn increases the eye’s internal pressure. While regular types of glaucoma can be treated with eye drops and possible surgery if needed, neovascular glaucoma is difficult to treat and laser surgery or implants may have to be used to control the glaucoma.

  • Blurred Vision

Blurred vision may be caused by something else, such as cataracts, but when you have diabetes it can sometimes be caused by an imbalance of your blood sugar levels that can easily be rectified. The high blood sugar levels can cause the lens within your eye to swell, which gives a blurry vision effect. To treat this, you may just need to get your blood sugar levels back under control and within limit. It may take a few months for the blurred vision to disappear. If you do develop blurred vision, make an appointment with your GP and optician or eye clinic, so they can make sure it is nothing more serious.

Remember if you have diabetes to get your eyes checked regularly. Everyone over the age of 12 with diabetes should be invited to a yearly diabetic eye screening and it is important not to miss this. Early detection of diabetic eye diseases could save your vision.