Diabetic Eye Disease – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Diabetic Eye Disease – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Dec 01, 2019

Diabetic eye disease is a cluster of eye problems that can affect people with diabetes. These conditions include, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Over a period, diabetes can cause damage to the eyes that can lead to poor vision or even blindness.


If the person has large, rapid shifts in their blood sugar levels, they might observe that their vision becomes blurry. This may occur prior to the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, or it might also develop after the initiation of treatment or a change in treatment of diabetes mellitus. This difficulty with vision or focusing will go once blood sugar levels have been stable for approximately one week.

Even if the patient has background diabetic retinopathy or early proliferative diabetic retinopathy, it is still possible that they might not have any symptoms, or they may experience mild-to-major blurring or vision loss.

If the person suffers from cataract, vision may become hazy or blurry. At night, the person might experience glare from oncoming lights.

If the person has glaucoma, they may or may not experience any symptoms until a major loss of vision has already occurred.

Causes of Diabetic Eye disease

Past many years, high blood sugar and other problems in metabolism found in people with diabetes may damage the blood vessels in the body. This damage can lead to poor circulation of the blood to various parts of the body. Since the function of the blood is to carry oxygen and other nutrients, the poor circulation can cause decreased oxygen delivery to tissues in different parts of the body and great damage to those tissues. Few of the most sensitive tissues to decreased blood flow and oxygen delivery include the heart, brain, kidneys, and the eyes. Lack of proper oxygen delivery to these areas causes heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and vision loss.

How does diabetes affect eyes?

Diabetes affects the eyes when blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is too high. High glucose can transform fluid levels or cause swelling in the tissues of the eyes that help one to focus, causing blurred vision. This type of hazy vision is temporary and goes away when the glucose level gets closer to normal.

If the blood glucose stays high for a long period, it can damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eyes. This damage can start during prediabetes, when blood glucose is higher than normal, but not high enough for one to be diagnosed with diabetes. Damaged blood vessels might leak fluid and cause swelling. New, weak blood vessels might also begin to grow. These blood vessels can easily bleed into the middle part of the eye, leading to scarring, or cause dangerously high pressure inside the eye.



The Optometrist in Cass may treat the patient’s eyes with anti-VEGF medicine, such as aflibercept, ranibizumab or bevacizumab. These medicines stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye. Anti-VEGF medicines can also stop fluid leaks, which can treat diabetic macular edema.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment, also called photocoagulation, creates small burns inside the eye with a beam of light. This procedure treats leaky blood vessels and extra fluid, called edema. Laser treatment can surely keep eye disease from getting worse, which is vital to prevent vision loss or blindness. But laser treatment is less likely to bring back vision one has already lost compared with anti-VEGF medicines.


Vitrectomy is a surgery to remove the clear gel that fills the centre of the eye, known as the vitreous gel. This method treats problems with severe bleeding or scar tissue caused by proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Scar tissue may force the retina to peel away from the tissue beneath it, like wallpaper peeling away from a wall. A retina that is completely loose, or detached, can cause blindness.

Cataract Lens Surgery

Optometrist in Cass can remove the cloudy lens in the eye, where the cataract has grown, and replace it with an artificial lens. People who have gone through cataract surgery usually have better vision afterward. After the eye heals, one may need a new prescription for the glasses. The vision following cataract surgery might also depend on treating any damage from diabetic retinopathy or macular edema.

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