The Link Between Diabetes and Eye Conditions

Doctor Checking Patient's EyesDiabetes has long been linked to eye conditions, which are often caused by the high levels of sugar in the blood. The following are the most common eye conditions associated with diabetes, and the ways in which the presence of diabetes in a person’s body contributes to these problems. Not everyone with diabetes will develop an eye condition, however those who have this disease are more likely to develop an eye condition than those who don’t have it. That is why we’ve also included some tips for diabetics on how to prevent these eye conditions from developing or worsening.

Diabetic Retinopathy

An estimated 5 million or more Americans aged 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy. This is an eye condition that only occurs in diabetics, and is more likely to develop the longer a person has diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina caused by the damage of the blood vessels that nourish the retina due to repetitive spiking and plummeting in blood sugar levels. This serious condition impairs vision and can lead to blindness if left untreated.


People who have diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts than those without this disease. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens which results in vision impairment due to the inability of the retina to focus light. Those with diabetes not only have a greater risk for developing cataracts, but develop them at a younger age. The presence of diabetes in the body can speed up the process of the cataracts developing.


Glaucoma is caused by pressure that builds up in the eye due to the buildup of fluid when the eye is not draining properly. This results in retina and nerve damage, which causes gradual loss of vision. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to blindness. Diabetics are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma, with a 40 percent higher risk than non-diabetics.

How to Protect Your Eyes When You Have Diabetes

Eye problems that result as a complication of diabetes may not have symptoms. That’s why it is important to be proactive with your eye health. If you are a diabetic, there are a few things you can do to prevent eye conditions:

  • Get an annual eye exam
  • See an ophthalmologist right away for changes in vision
  • Control your blood sugar levels
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stop smoking

Noticing Cloudy Vision? Get Checked for Cataracts

If you are noticing blurred or cloudy vision, this may be a symptom of cataracts, which is a condition that clouds the lenses of the eyes. To find out about your cataract treatment options, contact Dr. Joseph Leong-Sit at Eye Q Premium Laser to schedule a consultation.