A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

Diabetes and Eye Health: Understanding the Connection

by Damion Wasylow 20 November 2023 19:12 PM

young man with diabetes testing blood sugar
High blood sugar from diabetes damages blood vessels throughout the body, including the eyes, putting you at higher risk for retinopathy, 
glaucoma and cataracts. If you're part of the 11.3% of the population with diabetes, it’s important to understand how you can limit the impact these conditions can have on your overall eye health.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes can cause tiny blood vessels in your retina to bleed or leak fluid, leading to swelling of the retinal tissue. As the condition progresses, patients experience floaters, blurred vision, blank or dark areas in their vision fields, poor night vision and diminished colors.

Eventually, scar tissue resulting from these damaged blood vessels causes the retina to detach from the tissue around it, which can produce blindness, so it’s critical to diagnose and begin treating retinopathy long before this point.

While diabetic retinopathy can not be cured, proper treatment by an experienced ophthalmologist can delay the advancement of the disease. 


Diabetes increases your risk of developing glaucoma, a condition in which insufficient drainage of fluid leads to increased pressure within the eye, which in turn damages blood vessels and nerves.

With the most common form of glaucoma, known as open-angle glaucoma, patients slowly lose vision over time, often starting with their peripheral vision. When diagnosed early, open-angle glaucoma can be treated with medication to improve drainage and reduce eye pressure.


Cataracts are more prevalent overall, and at earlier ages, for people with diabetes compared to the rest of the population. Cataracts are caused by a buildup of proteins on the eye lens, which make the lens cloudy, leading to blurred vision, among other symptoms.

Cataracts inevitably worsen over time, so earlier development also means people with diabetes can expect more serious symptoms earlier in life.

Eventually, cataracts lead to blindness. The only effective treatment option is cataract surgery, during which the damaged natural lens is replaced with an artificial lens implant.

Diabetic Eye Health Advice

If you have diabetes, above and beyond working to manage your blood sugar, you should also schedule an annual eye exam. A comprehensive eye exam will allow your eye doctor to diagnose any potential conditions as early as possible. Early intervention and treatment is key to ensuring you retain your vision.

If you or someone you love has diabetes, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300. Our physicians are experts at diagnosing and treating diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts and related vision challenges, and they’re here to help you retain, and potentially even improve, your vision.



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