Does Having Diabetes Increase Your Risk of Other Eye Conditions?

Uncontrolled diabetes can make you more likely to develop certain eye conditions. These eye conditions can significantly affect your eye and vision health and even cause vision loss.

Keep reading to learn the effect diabetes has on your eyes and common eye conditions you may develop if you have diabetes!

Effect of Diabetes on Your Eyes

Diabetic eye conditions are directly tied to blood sugar control. For instance, fluctuating blood sugar levels due to diabetes can lead to blurry vision. 

Blood vessels in the retina can also be easily damaged by high blood sugar, causing diabetic retinopathy. Additionally, you’re more likely to develop certain eye conditions when you have diabetes compared to people without diabetes. 

These eye conditions include diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Consistently elevated blood sugar levels can cause diabetic retinopathy. This eye condition occurs when the blood vessels in your retina swell, break and leak. 

The retina transmits signals to your brain. Without it, your brain can’t interpret images. 

So, when there is damage to the retina, you will begin experiencing vision problems. Common symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Changes in vision quality
  • Difficulty seeing in low lighting
  • Appearance of floaters
  • Loss of peripheral vision

When left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can result in irreversible vision loss.

Diabetic Macula Edema

Macular edema is an eye condition where your macula becomes swollen. The macula is located at the center of the retina. 

It allows you to see the fine details and is responsible for your central vision. In case of complications from diabetic retinopathy, fluid leaking from damaged blood vessels might accumulate on or near your macula. 

When that happens, your macula can begin to swell and cause vision loss. Over fifty percent of diabetic retinopathy patients are affected by diabetic macula edema.


A cataract is the clouding of your natural eye lens. Cataracts are typically age-related. 

They usually begin forming after age forty and gradually progress over the course of many years. In most cases, they only affect vision mildly during this time. 

When you have diabetes, cataracts may develop earlier in life. They also tend to progress faster, resulting in rapid vision deterioration over a shorter period of time.


People with diabetes are twice as likely to get glaucoma than those without diabetes. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which connects the retina to your brain. 

The damage occurs due to high eye pressure and can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. There are different types of glaucoma. 

Diabetes can cause one form called neovascular glaucoma. Neovascular glaucoma occurs when new blood vessels grow abnormally on your iris, which is the colored part of your eye. 

This growth can happen if high blood glucose levels severely damage the blood vessels in your retina, your eye to create new ones. These abnormal blood vessels prevent the fluid from flowing out of your eye. 

When fluid doesn’t drain properly from the eye, it increases your intraocular pressure. Consequently, this results in optic nerve damage and irreparable vision loss.

Protect Your Sight with Eye Exams

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, the trusted doctors at Eye Physicians & Surgeons of Arizona recommend regular eye exams. Routine eye examinations are critical in preventing vision loss from diabetic eye diseases. Want to enjoy clear vision for as long as possible? Schedule your diabetic eye exam at Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Arizona in Phoenix, AZ, today to ensure that your eyes are being monitored for changes relating to diabetes.

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