- Diabetics are prone to developing cataracts (a clouding of the eye’s lens) at an earlier age.
- People with diabetes are almost 50% more likely to develop glaucoma, an eye disorder that damages the optic nerve often marked by an increase of internal eye pressure.
- Macular edema (and macular degeneration) are more common in diabetics due to malfunctioning blood vessels in the middle region of the retina responsible for central, sharp vision.
- Most notably, diabetes can result in diabetic retinopathy; an eye disease that affects the blood vessels in the all-important retina. Nearly 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.
Since the retina is the light-sensitive region of the back of the eye responsible for processing visual images, diabetic retinopathy can affect your vision in mild, moderate or even severe ways.
If you have diabetes, you probably know that your body can't use or store sugar properly. When your blood sugar gets too high, it can damage the blood vessels in your eyes. This damage may lead to diabetic retinopathy. In fact, the longer someone has diabetes, the more likely they are to have retinopathy (damage to the retina) from the disease.
Changes in blood-sugar levels increase your risk of diabetic retinopathy, as does long-term diabetes.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 95% of those with diabetic retinopathy can avoid substantial vision loss if they are treated in time.