Diabetes can harm the eyes. It can damage the small blood vessels in the retina, the back part of your eye. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes also increases the chance of having glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye problems.
Retinopathy - diabetic; Photocoagulation - retina; Diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage from diabetes to blood vessels of the retina. The retina is the layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye. It changes light and images that enter the eye into nerve signals, which are sent to the brain.
The chance of developing retinopathy and having a more severe form is higher when:
- You have had diabetes for a long time
- Your blood sugar (glucose) has been poorly controlled
- You also smoke or you have high blood pressure
If you already have damage to the blood vessels in your eye, some types of exercise can make the problem worse. Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
Other eye problems that can occur in people with diabetes include:
- Cataract. Cloudiness of the eye lens.
- Glaucoma. Increased pressure in the eye that can lead to blindness.
- Macular edema. Blurry vision due to fluid leaking into the area of the retina that provides sharp central vision.
- Retinal detachment. Scarring that may cause part of the retina to pull away from the back of your eyeball.
High blood sugar or rapid changes in blood sugar level often cause blurred vision. This is because the lens in the middle of the eye cannot change shape when it has too much sugar and water in the lens. This is not the same problem as diabetic retinopathy.