Diabetes is the number one cause of adult blindness in the United States. Diabetic eye complications can vary from temporary spots to permanent damage and vision loss. As with all diabetic complications, the eyes are directly affected by blood glucose levels. Diabetics should have regular dilated eye exams and be aware of the early indicators of damage. Extended periods of unchecked glucose levels can lead to blurry vision, a result of swelling of the lens. This problem can easily be corrected by maintaining blood sugar within a healthy range however, it make take several months before vision returns to normal. Blurriness may also be a symptom of a more severe complication such as glaucoma, cataracts, or retinopathy, which need to be addressed by a doctor.


Diabetic Eye Complications: Floaters


Eye floaters are specks or “spider webs” that drift or float in your vision when you move your eyes and cloud your vision. Caused by fibers in the vitreous humor casting shadows on the retina. Complications and risk increase when there are flashes of light which indicate the fibers are tugging on the retina. This can cause the retina to tear or detach from the back of the eye. Retinal detachments and tears are extremely serious and medical attention must be sought immediately as a failure to do so may result in vision loss. For diabetics the likelihood of developing floaters is increased if the patient suffers from diabetic retinopathy.


Cataracts and Glaucoma


Cataracts can affect anyone in the general population, generally occurring in the elderly. According to the National Eye Institute, almost half of the population will have a cataract by the age of 80. Cataracts develop when the proteins that compose the lens of the eye begin to clump together creating cloudy vision. While cataracts cannot pass from one eye to another, they can grow increasingly disrupting vision. In diabetics cataracts can develop as a result of another affliction such as glaucoma or surgery. Glaucoma refers to disease of the optic nerve. Neovascular glaucoma is a severe form that afflicts diabetics with poorly controlled glucose levels and/or high blood pressure. High blood pressure in diabetics is related to diabetic nephropathy, or disease of the kidneys. Open-angle glaucoma is caused by a buildup in pressure when fluid is unable to drain or drains too slowly from the cornea. Symptoms are loss of peripheral vision or loss of frontal vision. Medicines, laser and conventional surgery can treat glaucoma however there is no way to regain lost vision. An extremely dangerous form of glaucoma is angle-closure which causes severe pain, nausea, redness, and blurriness. This form requires emergency medical attention.