How Diabetes Affects Your Vision
Diabetes is a systemic disease that can affect different aspects of your health, including your heart, teeth, and eyes. Diabetes causes your body to improperly process sugar, or glucose, leading to health conditions related to high blood sugar.
If you have diabetes, you may be at risk for developing different eye diseases and conditions; some of them include:
- Open-angle glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma people could develop during their lifetimes. However, with diabetes, the risk of developing open-angle glaucoma is nearly doubled. Open-angle glaucoma occurs when small blockages form in the drainage canal of your eye, known as the trabecular meshwork. When your intraocular fluid can’t drain through this canal, it raises your intraocular eye pressure, which can damage your optic nerve and lead to vision loss.
- Cataracts. Cataracts are a common eye disease that can occur even if you don’t have diabetes. However, diabetes can speed up cataract progression, leading to vision loss. Cataracts are an eye condition that causes the crystalline lens of your eye to become rigid and cloudy.
- Diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that occurs when vessels behind the retina become blocked or clogged due to the high levels of sugar in your bloodstream. When they’re blocked, they can bulge and leak, permanently damaging your vision.
- Diabetic macular edema (DME). Diabetic macular edema occurs when measures aren’t taken to mitigate diabetic retinopathy. As fluids leak from the blood vessels, it can also cause the macula to swell as well, leading to permanent vision loss.