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How Diabetes Affects The Eyes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way our body processes blood sugar or glucose. When there is too much sugar in the blood, it causes problems with your health. You can’t cure diabetes, but it can be managed. One of the common health problems is how diabetes affects the eyes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

mature woman with black eye glasses trying to read book, having difficulties seeing text because vision problems.

The longer you have diabetes the greater the risk you will develop diabetic retinopathy.

Known as the silent killer of vision, diabetic retinopathy exhibits no symptoms until your eye is already damaged, and that damage can’t be reversed. It damages the blood vessels in your retina.

With early diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels bulge, weaken, or leak into the retina. As the disease progresses, the blood vessels can become blocked or closed off, and your eyes begin to grow new abnormal blood vessels on the surface of the retina. This can lead to serious vision problems or even blindness.

The only way to guard against any diabetic eye disease is to see Hecht Eye Institute and have a full-dilated exam once a year.


Glaucoma is one of the eye diseases that damages the optic nerve. This group of nerves connects the eye to the brain. Diabetes doubles the chances of getting glaucoma leading to vision loss or blindness if not treated in the early stages.

The symptoms start so slowly that it is difficult to recognize them. There is no cure for glaucoma, but early treatment can stop or slow down the progression.


We have clear vision in part due to the clear lens in our eyes. As we age the lens becomes cloudy like a dirty windshield in our car, and this is known as a cataract. It is common for those with diabetes to develop cataracts earlier in life than those without diabetes.

Cataracts can be removed in a simple procedure.

Diabetic Macular Edema

The macula is the part of the retina we need for reading, driving, and recognizing faces. Diabetes can cause the macula to swell, and when this occurs, you can lose your sharp vision leading to vision loss or blindness.

If caught early enough, the swelling can be reversed, or it can be more serious and more difficult to treat.

Changes In Vision

Rising blood sugar levels can cause many changes in vision during any day. Those with diabetes must keep their sugar levels in control with daily medications or insulin.

The best way to manage diabetes is to keep your glucose in control, stop smoking, watch A1C, your blood pressure, and cholesterol. In addition, see Hecht Eye Institute in Los Angeles, CA for a full-dilated exam every year, or more often if recommended, to save your precious vision.

Request an Appointment

Contact Hecht Eye Institute at (310) 370-5648 if your vision is blurry or changes, and make an appointment for a full-dilated exam if you are diabetic.

Ready to get started?

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Hecht and be on your way to better eye health!