How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes

Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye conditions that can affect people with diabetes. It can affect many parts of the eye, including the retina, macula, lens and the optic nerve. There are various side-effects of having diabetes and it is a condition that should be taken seriously and monitored closely.

Diabetic Retinopathy

It is probably the most commonly known complication of having diabetes and must be taken seriously as it can lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy affects the retina, which is the back of eye. There are 3 types of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Background diabetic retinopathy: this type is the very early changes to the retina, it doesn’t normally affect sight but must be monitored carefully to ensure it doesn’t become worse.
  • Diabetic maculopathy: this type is when the background diabetic retinopathy has developed on or around the macular. The macular is crucial when giving good vision as it provides central vision. Having diabetic maculopathy can affect sight.
  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy: this type is caused when background diabetic retinopathy become worse. When the blood vessels become damaged or blocked in a large area by the above two types it causes a reduced supply of blood to the retina.


 While developing cataracts is extremely common and a part of the eyes natural aging process, people with diabetes can develop cataracts earlier and faster. Cataracts are caused by the eyes ageing, becoming cloudy and more rigid. Symptoms of cataracts tend to be blurred vision and glare or halos, especially at night time.


 Glaucoma is caused by an increase in the eye’s pressure. Pressure develops when the eye’s fluid cannot be drained as normal. If you have diabetes, you are more likely to develop a rare glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma. This type of rare glaucoma is caused when new blood vessels develop and grow on the iris, which is the coloured part of the eye, and this blocks the normal flow of eye fluid and in turn increases the eye’s internal pressure.

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision may be caused by something else, such as cataracts, but when you have diabetes it can sometimes be caused by an imbalance of your blood sugar levels that can easily be rectified. The high blood sugar levels can cause the lens within your eye to swell, which gives a blurry vision effect. To treat this, you may just need to get your blood sugar levels back under control and within limit.


Dr. Navdeep Kaur
Dr. Navdeep Kaur

Author Dr. Navdeep Kaur

SPECIALITIES: Women's Health Including Contraceptives And Hormone Management, Supervised Weight Loss, Management Of Medical Conditions, Preventive Care.

scroll to top clickable image