Diabetes and Blindness

Diabetes patients with high blood glucose levels are affected due to various disease which leads to damage of several body parts, this includes eyes. Parts of eyes such as optic nerve, macula, lens and retina are also damaged due to diabetes.

Eye diseases found in diabetes patient

For a normal person, the electrical signal that is being transferred from the optic nerve to brain is done by pupil of eyes which takes in the light and converts as signal. In diabetes patients the retina is affected due to high blood glucose level which leads to several diseases. The patients are more commonly affected by diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma in early stages of their life when compared to non-diabetic patients.

In diabetic retinopathy the high sugar level affects the blood vessels in retina, so eyes will not be able take the light which often leads to blindness. There are four stages in the diabetic retinopathy

  1. Mild stage: In this stage one can find small swelling in the retina
  2. Moderate stage: Blood vessels do not provide sufficient oxygen and swelling in the eyes are seen.
  3. Severe stage: In this stage the retina is blocked and the oxygenation to the eyes is stopped.
  4. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy: This is the advanced stage of retinopathy which affects vision and cause hemorrhage.

Usually this leads to another disorder called diabetic macular edema in which macula of the eyes would be swollen due to more fluid in the macula.

Another common disease found is cataracts, in which there would be cloudy formation around the lens of the eye. Glaucoma is a disease where pressure inside the eyes seems to be high and affects the optic nerve that converts the electric signal.


Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Most of the diabetic patients will have at least few degrees of diabetic retinopathy, but only few can realize the symptoms. Usually there won’t be any symptoms of diabetic retinopathy in the early stages. This will be identified in the 2nd or 3rd stage, in that stage floaters will appear in the eyes due to bleeding in the eyes. If these are left unnoticed then this will lead to blindness.

Diagnosing diabetic retinopathy

This can be diagnosed with a sequence of check up. Also detailed examination of pupil and retina is required to identify the damages in the lens, nerves, blood vessels and fat deposits in the retina. Apart from this other tests are required, visual acuity test in which vision is measured at different distances, Pupil evaluation, tonometry test to measure pressure in the eyes, optical coherence tomography test which is a kind of ultrasound of the eye to examine inner part of the eyes.


Early detection of eye diseases could be treated with appropriate treatments in the early stage to avoid blindness as a result of diabetes. Vitrectom, laser or surgery are the common treatments for diabetic retinopathy, cataract and glaucoma.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *