diabetes and the eye


Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic condition that affects all of the body’s organs, including the eye. According to a 2016 study on a mostly urban population, India has a prevalence of 21.7 percent for diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes eye disease is a developing problem as the number of persons with the disease rises and people are living longer.

Patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) run the following risks:

• Diabetic retinopathy: This condition, which primarily affects the retinal blood vessels, results in fluid leaks and hemorrhages between the retinal layers.

• Diabetic macular edema is retinopathy at the macula complication that might have detrimental effects on vision.

• Advanced diabetic eye problems including vitreous hemorrhage and retinal detachment can occur.

• Diabetic patients are more likely than the general population to develop both diabetic and early-onset senile cataracts as a result of uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Even younger than 40 years old are some of the patients.

• Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop glaucoma. The optic nerve is harmed by glaucoma, which is linked to elevated eye pressure

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Who is at risk of developing Diabetes in the eye?

Patients with uncontrolled diabetes are more likely to experience severe forms of diabetic retinopathy.

• Patients with diabetes mellitus of either type I or type II can develop diabetic retinopathy.
• Patients with type I DM are more likely to have more severe disease, with vision-threatening complications occurring in about 10% of cases.
• More chances of contracting the disease increase with the length of time. At the time of diagnosis, some newly diagnosed individuals already had diabetic retinopathy.

Symptoms of the disease-

• Eyesight Diminution or Distortion.
• Numerous diabetic patients experience frequent visual alterations and frequent eyeglass
replacements as a result of untreated or poorly controlled diabetes.

• Diabetic retinopathy’s early stages may not show any symptoms. Some patients may report seeing “floaters,” which are black specks that move about, and which may be caused by recent bleeding from the vulnerable blood vessels. In advanced stages, eyesight loss may be permanent.
• Patients with diabetes are also more likely to get frequent infections like conjunctivitis and styes on the eyelids.

Prevention of the disease

• Routine thorough eye exams are advised at least once a year to search for diabetic retinopathy, which has no complaints or symptoms in the early stages of the disease and many people are already suffering from it when they are diagnosed.

1Vision and refraction
2 Eye pressure
3 Dilated fundus examination

Ophthalmological checks may need to be more routine for people with diabetic eye disease.
• Pregnant patients should get tested for diabetic retinopathy because pregnancy may make it worse.
• Early implementation of strict blood glucose control can stop or postpone the onset of diabetic retinopathy. People who maintain their blood sugar levels close to normal have a lower risk of contracting serious illnesses. Therefore, it is imperative to follow a healthy, balanced eating plan.
• It is important to treat additional systemic risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity.
• Smoking negatively impacts diabetic retinopathy, hence it should be ceased.

Dr. Devanshi Shah
Consultant Ophthalmologist