Vision problems are actually pretty common in diabetics, something many don't realize. If you have diabetes, regular visits to your ophthalmologist for eye exams are important to avoid eye problems. High blood sugar (glucose) increases the risk of diabetes eye problems. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20 to 74.The key message is that the vast majority of vision loss and blindness caused by the diabetes can be avoided through early detection. It is recommend that most people with diabetes should have their eyes examined every two years and those higher-risk people with high sugar, or those who have had diabetes for more than 30 years, be tested every year.
Diabetes can affect your eye in many ways,The most serious eye condition associated with diabetes involves the network of blood vessels supplying the retina. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy.The changes in blood sugar levels resulting from diabetes can affect the lens inside your eye, especially when diabetes is uncontrolled. This can result in blurring of vision which comes and goes over the day, depending on your blood sugar levels.A longer-term effect of diabetes is that the lens of your eye can go cloudy, this is called a cataract.But not everyone who has diabetes develops an eye complication. Of those that do, many people have a very mild form of retinopathy which may never progress to a sight-threatening condition. The most serious complication of diabetes for your eye is the development of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes affects the tiny blood vessels of your eye and if they become blocked or leak then the retina, and possibly your vision, will be affected. The extent of these changes determines what type of diabetic retinopathy you have. Forty percent of people with type 1 diabetes and 20 percent with type 2 diabetes will develop some sort of diabetic retinopathy.
Over time, high blood sugar levels from diabetes lead to damage of the retina, the layer on the back of the eye that captures images and sends them as nerve signals to the brain. Whether diabetic retinopathy develops depends in part on how high blood sugar levels have been and how long they have been above a target range. Other things that may increase your risk for diabetic retinopathy include high blood pressure, pregnancy, a family history of the condition, kidney disease, high cholesterol, and whether you smoke.People who have diabetes are also at risk for other problems, such as cataracts and glaucoma, that damage vision. They are also at risk for a severe form of glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma. Cataracts are frequently caused by a lifetime of sun exposure, and diabetes speeds up their formation.