Impact of Diabetes on eyes

Impact of Diabetes on Your Eyes

Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disorder which affects all the organs of the body and thus doesn’t spare the eye. Vision issues such as cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy can develop as a result of high blood sugars. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults aged 20–74yrs.

Distorted Vision, or frequent change of glasses is one of the common symptoms.

If you notice hazy vision, avoid getting new glasses immediately. High blood sugar might be causing a temporary issue. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause the lens of your eye to swell, leading to vision changes. To correct this, you need to bring your blood sugar levels within the target range: 70–130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL 1–2 hours after eating. Uncontrolled diabetes is the root cause of these problems. It may take up to three months for your vision to return to normal if blood sugar levels are improved. Nowadays, some of the patients we see in our clinic, are even less than the age of 40.


The eye functions similarly to a camera, with an internal lens that helps to focus light to produce clearer images. When the lens becomes cloudy in case of cataract formation, the light rays cannot focus on retina leading to smudgy, distorted vision and glare. Most common cause of cataract is due to age – related, however diabetic patients are prone to have cataract earlier and experience more rapid progression due to fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Cataract surgery is required where the natural damaged lens is removed and artificial intraocular lens is implanted for a clearer vision.


Glaucoma, which can manifest in a variety of ways, is more common in people with diabetes. If the drainage of fluid from the eye is impaired, intraocular pressure increases, potentially damaging blood vessels and neurons, thereby affecting vision.

  • Open-angle glaucoma: Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, is often treatable with medication. These medications decrease intraocular pressure by increasing fluid drainage and reducing fluid production within the eye. In more severe cases, surgery or laser treatments may be required to reduce the intraocular pressure (IOP).

In some cases of glaucoma, you may observe:

  • Heaviness of eyes and headache
  • Visual haze and blurry vision
  • Watering and redness of eyes
  • Difficulty crossing roads, tunnel vision.

However, there may be no warning signs of this form of glaucoma until the disease has progressed to the point where significant vision loss occurs. Due to these factors as individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, they should have regular eye examinations to monitor for early signs of the disease.

Routine checkup enables early detection of glaucoma.

  • Neovascular Glaucoma: Neovascular glaucoma is a rarer form of the disease that is more common in individuals with diabetes, where new, abnormal blood vessels form on the iris and other parts of the eye. These new vessels can block the eye’s drainage channels, leading to increased intraocular pressure and thus neovascular glaucoma. For the treatment, your doctor will likely employ a combination of laser surgery to narrow the capillaries in the back of your eye and anti-VEFG injections to rapidly reduce your eye pressure.

In any type of glaucoma early detection and management are essential to prevent vision loss.

Diabetic retinopathy

Retina is the light sensitive tissue which transmits visual information to brain via the optic nerve, when light rays are focused on it.

Both, Type I and II Diabetes Mellitus patients can develop diabetic retinopathy. Type I DM patients are prone to develop more severe disease with vision threatening complications around 10%. Longer the duration more chances of developing the disease. Some of the newly diagnosed patients are already suffering from diabetic retinopathy at the time of diagnosis. Floaters, blurry vision are the most common symptoms.

Clinically diabetic retinopathy can be classified as non proliferative and proliferative (more severe) diabetic retinopathy. In proliferative retinopathy, new blood vessels form in the retina due to inadequate oxygen supply to the eye’s back cells. These fragile vessels are prone to bleeding and clotting, leading to potential complications such as preretinal haemorrhage, vitreous haemorrhage, retinal detachment and scarring. Early intervention, including surgical removal or laser therapy to destroy abnormal blood vessels, can prevent irreversible visual loss and preserve vision. These are difficult to treat and can cause irreversible lose of vision.

Diabetic Maculopathy

The macula is a crucial part of the retina for tasks requiring precise vision, such as reading and driving, is particularly vulnerable to damage from diabetes. Swelling of the macula, known as maculopathy (macular edema) can occur and may vary in severity. Prompt treatment can address swelling this swelling. Intravitreal injections such as antiVEGFs and triamcinolone injections might be advised for the treatment. 


If you are suffering from diabetes, do not take it likely. Its important to schedule regular eye appointments. For the best care, consult the best eye surgeon in Ghatkopar. Getting regular eye check ups may help with early detection of problem and preserve your eyesight.