Diabetes Eye Care


You may have heard that diabetes can harm your eyes. While people with diabetes do have a higher risk of blindness, most people who have diabetes only have minor eye issues. With regular check-ups, you can keep your eyes healthy and avoid major problems.

Common Eye Issues for People with Diabetes

Diabetic eye disease includes a wide range of problems, from temporary blurring of vision to a permanent loss of eyesight. Some people may not even realize they have diabetes until they experience problems with their eyes or vision, including:

  • Blurry vision. When you have high blood sugar, the lens of the eye can swell and change your ability to see.
  • Glaucoma. Pressure can build in your eyes and pinch the blood vessels that carry blood to the retina and optic nerve. Your gradually lose your vision because the retina and nerve are damaged.
  • Cataracts. People with diabetes tends experience cataracts younger age. Cataracts occur when the eye lens clouds, blocking light and affecting vision.
  • Diabetic retinopathy. This term is used for all retina disorders related by diabetes. It is caused by damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye (retina). Mild cases can be treated with careful diabetes management. Advanced cases may require laser treatment or surgery.

Reduce Your Risk

To help reduce your risk of developing eye problems:

  • Schedule an annual eye exam. You should have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) every year. During the exam, your eyes may be dilated to allow a good view of the retina or special photographs of your retina may be taken.
  • Control your blood sugar. High blood sugar increases your chance of having eye problems.
  • Control your blood pressure. Your provider will tell you what blood pressure you should aim for. Be sure to have it checked regularly.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Ask your doctor about safe exercises. Some exercises, such as weight lifting or high-impact exercises, make eye problems worse. Your doctor can tell you which exercises are safe.

Within the Mercy network, we provide comprehensive diabetes care, including expert eye care. Early diagnosis is key to detecting and managing sight-threatening diabetic problems. So if you are experiencing problems with yours eye or sight, it’s time to see a Mercy doctor.  

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