Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetes and the Eye
Diabetes can cause eye problems on many levels. Cataracts can form earlier and glaucoma is more likely, but the main issue is damage to the blood vessels of the retina.
The most severe retinal complication is called proliferative diabetic retinopathy. In this case, new blood vessels grow in an attempt to improve blood supply to the retina. They may cause bleeding, scar tissue formation and potentially, permanent vision loss.
The most common form of diabetic vision loss is leakage of fluid in the center of the retina, known as macular edema. Fortunately, we have improved screening tests to detect diabetic retinopathy including retinal photography and scanning devices to painlessly detect these changes at an early stage.
Treatment for diabetic retinopathy has also advanced in recent years and early detection and prompt treatment have demonstrated much improved outcomes in many studies. It is critical to come in at least once per year for a complete eye exam if you have diabetes.