Diabetic Eye Disease

Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing eye conditions as a complication their disease. Over 40 percent of patients diagnosed with diabetes develop some form of eye disease as a result of their disease. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and the primary cause of blindness in the United States.

Diabetes can damage blood vessels in the eye, causing blood or fluid to leak from the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. It can also cause new blood vessels to grow on the surface of the retina, leading to significant damage to vision and the overall quality of life.

OTHER RISK FACTORS

  • People with a family history of diabetes

  • Certain ethnic groups can be more at risk – African, Native American, Japanese, Latino or Polynesian

  • If you have high blood pressure, you should be treated as hypertension can increase the damage to the eye in people with diabetes.

  • Kidney disease also makes eye damage worse, particularly if you have high blood pressure as well. If you are pregnant, controlling diabetes is vital for both you and your baby.  

  • Smoking can be harmful to a person with diabetes as nicotine constricts blood vessels. In addition, doctors believe smoking undoes the good work that good blood sugar control has on the blood vessels.


DIABETIC EYE DISEASES

Diabetic retinopathy – damage to the blood vessels in the retina.

Cataracts – Clouding of the eye’s lens. Cataracts develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.

Glaucoma – An increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that leads to optic nerve damage and loss of vision. A person with diabetes is nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma as other adults.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Vision that may be blurry or doubled

  • Flashing lights

  • Blank spots

  • Dark floaters or spots in the vision

  • Pain or pressure in either or both eyes

  • Problems with peripheral vision

  • Severe vision loss or blindness

Diabetic Eye Exams

Since eye complications are common with diabetes, it is very important that people with diabetes get their eyes examined on a regular basis. The National Eye Institute recommends that people with diabetes get a dilated eye exam at least once a year. The good news is that with regular eye check-ups with Dr. Hecht and treatment, blindness from diabetes can be reduced effectively. 

Things to remember 

  • Anyone with diabetes can eventually develop diabetic retinopathy

  • Vision loss or blindness is preventable through early detection and timely treatment with Dr. Hecht

  • Good control of diabetes and regular eye examinations can prevent vision loss

  • Take action before you notice any issues with your vision 

If you believe you are experiencing diabetes eye symptoms, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Dr. Hecht in one of his offices.

 
Hecht Eye Institute