Updated 16 February 2016

Diabetes and the eye

When left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness in diabetics.


When left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness in diabetics. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults between the ages of 16 and 74.

But not all diabetics will go blind, and much can be done to prevent and treat eye problems.

So why does diabetes damage the eyes?

Read: Keep an eye on diabetes 

At the back of the eye is a light-sensitive lining called the retina. If your blood sugar levels are consistently high, the tiny blood vessels at the back of the retina will become damaged. If you are diabetic, you should see an opthalmologist at least once a year, for a thorough checkup. 

Glaucoma, high pressure in the eye, or cataracts, a thickening of the lens, as well as blurred vision are all eye problems associated with diabetes. 

Read: Diabetes: blind to the dangers?

Today, with laser surgery, much can be done to reverse eye damage caused by diabetes, but, as with all complications, it is always advisable to catch them early.

A test specifically for diabetics is called fluorescein angiography, helps detect early retinopathy, even before a diabetic patient may be aware of any damage to his or her vision. Laser therapy can control most of the damage which has been done. 

Read more:

What is diabetes? 

Symptoms of diabetes  

Causes of diabetes 


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