How Diabetes Affects the Eyes

February 15, 2017

Eye conditionsPeople with diabetes have a very high risk for developing a variety of serious health problems. And the eyes aren’t immune. At Millennium Park, we take special care of our patients with diabetes to help them manage, and in some cases prevent serious eye conditions. But catching these conditions early is critically important, so it’s equally important to have regular eye checkups.

Early diagnosis is the key

Eye conditions with diabetes don’t scream for attention. In fact, early on many related eye conditions don’t exhibit noticeable symptoms to the patient. But the experienced team at Millennium will spot the problem and address it.

If you have any of these symptoms, we need to see you immediately.

  • Your vision suddenly becomes blurry for more than two days.
  • Your vision in both eyes suddenly goes away.
  • You see floaters, black spots, or strings that seem to float appear in your field of vision.
  • You see blinding or flashing lights.
  • There is sudden pressure or pain in your eyes.

Common eye complications related to diabetes


If you have diabetes, your chances of developing glaucoma increase nearly double over those without diabetes. This risk increases as a person ages, particularly if they have had diabetes a long time. Glaucoma is a result of the buildup of pressure in the eye because drainage is significantly slowed down. This pressure eventually affects the optic nerve, causing vision damage.


Cataracts is a very common age-related eye condition, especially for those over 60. But a person with diabetes can develop cataracts at a younger age. Overall, diabetes increases the chances of developing cataracts by 60%. In cataracts, the lenses of the eyes become clouded and need to be replaced with artificial lenses.


Retinopathy is a group of disorders that affect the retina of the eye. They are classified as non-proliferative and proliferative. Almost all patients with Type 1 diabetes will develop non-proliferative retinopathy, while only a smaller percentage of Type 2 diabetes patients develop it.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to keep your eye health in mind. If you have questions or need an appointment, call us at 312-996-2020.




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