Can Diabetes Cause Blindness?

Over 40% of people with diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of vision loss and blindness. That said, having diabetes doesn’t mean you’ll definitely become blind at some point. 

With effective, personalized care from your eye care expert and endocrinologist, you can take steps now to protect your vision. 

Our expert optometrists and ophthalmologists at Paragon Eye Associates in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, provide comprehensive eye exams and treatment to prevent or limit diabetic eye diseases such as retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, and neovascular glaucoma. 

Let’s explore diabetic eye disease and how you can protect your vision. 

How does diabetes affect my vision?

Diabetes interferes with the way your body produces and uses insulin, the hormone that helps convert blood sugar (glucose) into energy. When unmanaged, elevated glucose levels can damage your blood vessels, including the tiny ones in your eyes. 

Diabetic retinopathy develops when the blood vessels in your eyes begin to leak blood and other fluid onto your retina. You may also grow new abnormal blood vessels on your retina, increasing the leakage.

The abnormal fluid leakage can lead to macular edema (swelling), which can cause central vision loss. Additionally, the blood can seep into your vitreous fluid — the gel that fills your eyes. This can cause floaters in the early stages and can progress until your vision is blocked. 

The leaking fluid also triggers scar tissue formation, causing additional problems with the macula or a detached retina. 

What are the signs of diabetic eye disease?

Some of the warning signs of diabetic eye disease include:

Take note, however, that these are signs of advanced diabetic eye disease. It’s very possible to have diabetic retinopathy and not know it. 

How can I prevent diabetic eye disease?

If you have diabetes, even if your disease is under control, it’s essential to have a comprehensive diabetic eye exam every year. 

As diabetic eye disease doesn’t usually cause symptoms in its early stages, our optometrists and ophthalmologists provide retinal scans and other tests to identify abnormal blood vessels before they cause any vision problems. 

It would be best to work with your primary care provider or endocrinologist to manage your disease with diet, exercise, and medication. Keeping your glucose levels within the healthy range can significantly lower your risk of developing diabetic eye disease and an increased risk of vision loss. 

Can you treat diabetic eye disease?

Yes. If your eye doctor finds any signs of diabetic eye disease, we offer a range of treatments, including laser treatments and medication, to close abnormal blood vessels and prevent more from growing. 

Your eye doctor discusses your treatment options and recommendations after evaluating your eye health. 

Call our offices in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, or send a message to our team online today if you have any concerns about diabetic eye disease, vision loss, or need a comprehensive eye exam. 

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