Diabetes is a progressive condition that overtime damages not only the overall health of your body but can cause eye sight problems and even blindness. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing eye disease such as diabetic retinopathy.
The retina is the tissue at the back of the eye and contains tens of tiny blood vessels. In front of the retina is the lens, the lens focuses light that enters the eye back to the retina. The retina acts almost like a camera film - when the light sent for the lens hits the retina, the retina send images back to the brain where the images are processed.
Diabetes mellitus damages the lens and the retina over time. As blood sugar levels rise, the blood vessels in the retina become damaged and swollen. As the blood vessels swell in the eye, the retina does not function properly. If blood glucose levels continue to rise, or fluctuate between a normal and raised level the retina responds by growing new blood vessels to help the retina function. These extra blood vessels actually damage the eye and cause a disease known as diabetic retinopathy which can lead to vision impairment and blindness if untreated.
High blood sugar levels can cause pressure in the eye to increase as fluid between the lens and cornea builds up. High pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve which leads to glaucoma, an eye condition that can cause permanent vision impairment.
When blood sugar levels are high because of diabetes, excess glucose can leak into the lens. This excess sugar causes the lens to swell. When blood sugar levels decrease, the swelling in the lens goes down. Over time, the repeated action of swelling and swelling reduction can cause clouding of the lens - a condition called cataracts. People with diabetes are 60% more at risk of developing cataracts.
Diabetes is one of the main causes of damage to eye sight and controlling diabetes as well as regular eye examinations can reduce the risk of eye sight problems.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.