Effects of Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness. In a Diabetic, the high glucose levels in the blood can harm organs in our body like the heart, eyes, veins, arteries, kidney and brain.

Diabetes mellitus is one of the leading causes of blindness. It is a growing problem in India, approximately million peoples are suffering from diabetes, and India has the largest Diabetic population. Diabetic eye disease primarily encompasses diabetic retinopathy and cataract, which either lead to reversible or irreversible loss of vision.

The longer the duration of Diabetes, greater is the risk of developing Diabetic eye disease. Progression is rapid in patients with uncontrolled blood sugar. Similarly high blood pressure, increased blood lipid, renal disease, pregnancy, anaemia and smoking also have adverse effect in the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Retina is the back portion of the eye. The optic nerve along with retina connects the eye to the brain. The high blood sugar damages the cells lining the walls of the arteries and the veins of the retina. These blood vessels may balloon in some corners or places to form micro-aneurysms that leak fluid, blood and fat into surrounding tissue. The fluid accumulation leads to thickening of retina. When it affects the retina known as macula, there will be a drop in vision.

Diabetes also damages the lens of an eye by opacities, it result in cataract. Diabetic patients develop earlier cataracts and may require surgery to replace it with a new intra ocular lens. If the blood sugar is brought under control and remains stable, vision will improve.


Timely treatment helps prevent further vision loss. Laser remains the mainstay of treatment for diabetic retinopathy. For fluid accumulation in macula, laser photocoagulation in focal or grid pattern can be applied. Laser treatment is often done to prevent complications related to diabetic retinopathy but not to improve vision.

Steroids and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs are applied directly injected into the eye, these injections help reduce blood vessel leakage and formation of abnormal new vessels.

Hence Diabetic eye problems are treatable, if diagnosed early and also lifestyle management helps reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It can also slow down progression of pre-diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes:

  • In early stages there will not be any blurring vision.

  • If there is a accumulation of macula fluid, they will find a drop in vision.

  • Sudden deterioration in vision in advanced stage can occur due to bleeding inside the eye and retinal detachment.

  • Temporary change in refractive error.

  • Glare and blurring of vision could be noticed due to cataract.

How to Prevent Diabetes:

  • Strict control of blood sugar is the mainstay. Maintain HbA1C levels should be around six percent.

  • A healthy lifestyle including diet control and regular exercise helps avoid further complications.

  • Intensive control of blood pressure, renal function and serum lipid levels.

  • Blood haemoglobin should be within normal limits.

  • Avoid smoking.

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