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Home » What’s New » Understanding the Connection Between Diabetes and Vision

Understanding the Connection Between Diabetes and Vision

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Diabetes, a chronic condition that hampers the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels and convert food into energy, has a significant impact on the lives of over 37 million Americans. While many are familiar with its effects on various bodily systems, the connection between diabetes and vision often remains overlooked. This blog aims to shed light on the nature of diabetes, its implications for eye health, additional risk factors involved, and proactive steps you can take to preserve your vision if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.

What is Diabetes and How Does it Affect Your Eyes?

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to convert glucose into energy efficiently or, in some cases, fails to convert it altogether. Consequently, elevated blood sugar levels wreak havoc throughout the body, including the eyes. The retina, a vital component of the eyes, relies on a network of blood vessels to function correctly. Unfortunately, diabetes weakens and causes bulging in these blood vessels, resulting in a condition called diabetic retinopathy. While this stage typically doesn't cause vision loss, fluid leakage from these weakened blood vessels can lead to macular edema, the primary cause of diabetes-related vision impairment.

Over time, the body attempts to compensate for the weakened blood vessels by generating new ones — a stage referred to as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Unfortunately, these new blood vessels are less effective, leading to reduced blood flow to the retina and subsequent vision loss.

Additional Risk Factors

Diabetes increases the likelihood of developing cataracts and glaucoma — two conditions that can further impact vision. Let's examine each of these conditions in detail:


Cataracts manifest when the lens of the eye becomes clouded. This cloudiness results from the accumulation of protein clumps within the lens. Although cataracts can affect anyone, individuals with diabetes tend to develop them earlier and experience faster progression.


Glaucoma is a condition characterized by elevated pressure within the eye, which damages the optic nerve. This slow-moving condition can inflict damage on the eyes before any noticeable symptoms arise. Early detection plays a pivotal role in effectively managing and treating this condition.

Preserving Your Vision

Diabetes has the potential to impact your vision, but the good news is that there are measures we can take to minimize its effects. Early detection serves as the foundation for mitigating the risks diabetes poses to your eyesight. Regular eye examinations can help identify potential issues before they affect your vision. With timely detection, your eye doctor can recommend treatments aimed at preventing, limiting, or slowing down vision impairment, enabling you to sustain healthy eyesight for longer.

If you have recently received a diabetes diagnosis, it is crucial to schedule an eye examination with Dr. Laura Di Nino at Dr. Laura Di Nino to proactively manage your diabetes and maintain optimal visual health.