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What Does Diabetes Do To The Eyes

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What Treatments Are Available

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Eyes? | Why A Diabetic Eye Exam Is Important

If your diabetic retinopathy is moderate and stable, treatment may not be necessary right away. Regular dilated eye exams can track the diseases progression and controlling your blood sugar can prevent it from getting worse. If your vision is already affected, its important to start treatment immediately.

The treatments for macular edema and proliferative retinopathy can prevent vision loss and even restore some of your lost vision. They include:

  • Anti-VEGF therapy, which involves injecting drugs into the eye to stop the leaking of the blood vessels
  • Steroids to reduce retinal swelling
  • Vitrectomy, a surgery to remove scar tissue and cloudy fluid from inside the eye

Our Aim Is To Eliminate Trachoma In The Countries Where We Work And This Goal Is Now Closer Than Ever

In September 2022, Malawi became the first country in southern Africa to eliminate the disease. Yet there are still more than 40 countries that count trachoma as a public health problem, where people are at risk of being blinded by trichiasis.

We help to control the impact and spread of trachoma by implementing the World Health Organizations SAFE strategy: the acronym describes the four methods used to control the disease.

How Is Trachoma Treated


Antibiotic tablets, donated by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, are used to treat the infection. Treatment is usually repeated annually for up to five years.

Trichiasis surgery

Advanced trachoma can cause the eyelashes to turn inwards. An operation stops the eyelashes rubbing against the eyeball, and can stop people going blind.

Cleanliness and hygiene

Communities are encouraged to change behaviour that can put them at risk of trachoma, and are taught about the importance of face washing, hygiene and sanitation.

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Taking Steps Towards Treating Diabetic Retinopathy With Iris

Screening for potential degenerative eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy might seem like a heavy lift for a primary physicians office. However, with comprehensive eye care solutions like Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems, also known as IRIS, it becomes easy to implement and leverage artificially intelligent software that drastically improves the quality of care physicians can offer to their patients.

The IRIS solution applies image enhancement technology to all fundus images uploaded to our cloud-based platform. When a fundus image is taken and uploaded, the orange coloring and shaded areas of the photo a common reason for ungradable images are put through IRISs proprietary image enhancement algorithm which illuminates the vasculature and potentially hidden pathology. This innovative technology increases the gradeability of a traditional fundus image, or picture of the retina, to around 95%, whereas usually it hovers right around 80-85%. In turn, more accurate diagnoses of diabetic retinopathy are easily made possible.

The benefits of IRIS extend far past our technology. With this fundus image enhancement comes optional access to the IRIS Reading Center, or the IRC. The IRIS Reading Center is composed of board-certified eye care providers who remotely diagnose retinal images via the IRIS Platform.

Eye Care: 6 Steps To Prevent Eye Problems

8 Important Complications Of Diabetes You Need To Know

Protect your eyesight with these eye care tips:

1. Manage your blood sugar.

One of the best things you can do for your eyes is to keep your blood sugar at near-normal levels. Steady blood sugar control can slow the damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. This helps prevent or delay the start of eye problems linked to diabetes. Two to four times a year, have an A1c blood test, which measures your glucose levels for the past 2 to 3 months. This helps your doctor to better plan your treatment. Aim for a test result of around 7% or less.

2. Manage your blood pressure.

Control your blood pressure to help slow or prevent eye disease caused by diabetes. Have your blood pressure checked by your doctor at every visit. If a low-salt diet, staying at a healthy weight, and exercise aren’t enough to keep it under control, you may need drugs to bring it down to a healthier level. The goal for most people with diabetes is blood pressure of less than 130/80.

3. Have yearly “dilated” eye exams.

An eye doctor needs to widen your pupils with special eyedrops to look for early signs of damage to tiny eye blood vessels. Get a full eye exam every year, so your eye doctor can find and treat problems early.

If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, get an eye exam early in your pregnancy and stay in touch with your eye doctor throughout your pregnancy.

4. Watch for warning signs.

5. Quit smoking.

6. Take heart: Diabetes care and eye care work together.

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How Does The Eye Work

To understand the eye disorders that can be caused by diabetes, its good to know how the eye works. The eye is covered by a strong outer membrane which is clear and curved. The curved part is the cornea which focuses light and helps protect the eye.

Once light passes through the cornea, it travels through the fluid-filled anterior chamber through the pupil and then through the lens that helps with focusing. The light then passes through another fluid-filled chamber in the middle of the eyeball and hits the retina in the back of the eye.

The retina records the light images that get focused on it and converts those images to electrical signals. The electrical signals are sent to the brain via the optic nerve and the brain decodes them. The macula, part of the retina, is highly specialized for seeing detail. Blood vessels in and behind the eye supply the macula with nourishment.

What Happens If I Have Kidney Disease

Your healthcare provider will create a special treatment plan for you. This may include taking medicines, limiting salt and certain foods, getting exercise, and more. You will also need regular checkups to monitor your kidney function. Having kidney disease or diabetes does not mean your kidneys will fail. Finding and treating it early can help keep kidney disease from getting worse.

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How Can Diabetes Affect My Eyes

Diabetes can lead to a serious eye disease called diabetic retinopathy, but it can also cause other vision problems.

Having diabetes affects your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels change quickly, it can affect the shape of your eyes lens. This can cause blurry vision that only stabilizes once your blood sugar levels are stabilized. For this reason , if you have diabetes, it is recommended that you make sure your blood sugar levels are controlled.

Quick Tip: Be sure to always get an annual eye exam. Eye exams give your doctor an opportunity to find and address issues before they start to affect your vision.

How Do Eyes Work

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Eye?

The images we see are made up of light reflected from the objects we look at. This light enters the eye through the cornea, which acts like a window at the front of the eye. The amount of light entering the eye is controlled by the pupil, which is surrounded by the iris the coloured part of the eye.

Because the front part of the eye is curved, it bends the light, creating an upside down image on the retina. The brain eventually turns the image the right way up.

The retina is a complex part of the eye, and its job is to turn light into signals about images that the brain can understand. Only the very back of it is light sensitive: this part of the retina is roughly the area of a 10p coin, and is packed with photosensitive cells called rods and cones.

Cones are the cells responsible for daylight vision. There are three kinds, each responding to a different wavelength of light: red, green and blue. The cones enable us to see images in colour and detail. Rods are responsible for night vision. They are sensitive to light but not to colour. In darkness, the cones do not function at all.

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Common Eye Complications Related To Diabetes


Diabetes increases the likelihood of a person developing glaucoma by over 40% over someone without diabetes. This risk increases as a person ages, particularly if they have had diabetes a long time. Glaucoma is a result of the buildup of pressure in the eye because drainage is significantly slowed down. This pressure eventually affects the optic nerve, causing vision damage.


Cataracts is a very common age-related eye condition. But a person with diabetes can develop cataracts at a younger age than the overall population. Overall, diabetes increases the chances of developing cataracts by 60%. In cataracts, the lenses of the eyes become clouded and need to be replaced with artificial lenses.


Retinopathy is a group of disorders that affect the retina of the eye. They are classified as non-proliferative and proliferative. Almost all patients with Type 1 diabetes will develop non-proliferative retinopathy, while only a smaller percentage of Type 2 diabetes patients develop it.

If you have diabetes, its important to see the team at Wilkinson for regular eye exams. at our Pontiac, 334-4931, or Clarkston, 625-5922, locations to make your appointment.

Regular Diabetes Eye Checks

People with diabetes need regular, specialist eye checks with an optometrist or an eye doctor . This will involve a dilated eye exam.

First, the specialist will administer eye drops to enlarge the pupils.

Then, they will examine the retina, at the back of the eye, for any changes or unusual features. They will look for signs of diabetic retinopathy.

A doctor may recommend an eye exam or more, depending on the persons current eye health.

People need more regular checks during pregnancy as retinopathy can worsen during this time.

For people with diabetes, regular diabetes eye exams can detect problems in the early stages.

If early signs of eye problems are present, a doctor will likely recommend:

  • a treatment plan to help manage glucose levels
  • managing high blood pressure, which can also affect eye health
  • more regular eye tests and monitoring

These measures can slow or prevent further changes for some time.

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Diabetes & The Eyes Resources

These resources are designed to support individuals living with diabetes and help them gain access to eye care that they require to maintain healthy vision. The resources describe common barriers to eye care, ways to navigate the healthcare system, the intricacies of health insurance and eye care, and an overview of eye care assistance resources.

What Eye Problems Can Diabetes Cause

Diabetic Retinopathy â Florida Eye Associates

Over time, high blood sugar may damage the blood vessels and lenses in your eyes. This can lead to serious diabetic eye problems which can harm your vision and sometimes cause blindness. Some common diabetes eye problems include:

  • Diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness in American adults. It affects blood vessels in the retina . The blood vessels may swell and leak fluid into your eye. If it’s not treated, it can cause serious problems such as vision loss and retinal detachment, where the retina is pulled away from its normal position at the back of your eye.
  • Diabetic macular edema , which happens when blood vessels in the retina leak fluid into the macula . This usually develops in people who already have other signs of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Glaucoma, a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve . Glaucoma from diabetes happens when the blood vessels in the front of your eye are damaged, and new blood vessels grow near the iris . The blood vessels block the space where fluid drains from your eye. This causes fluid to build up and pressure to increase inside your eye.
  • Cataract, which happen when the clear lens in the front of your eye becomes cloudy. Cataracts are common as people age. But people with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts younger and faster than people without diabetes. Researchers think that high glucose levels cause deposits to build up in the lenses of your eyes.

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Diabetes And Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Diabetes & The Eyes Educational Toolkit

The Diabetes & the Eyes Educational Toolkit offers educational materials on diabetes and the impact of diabetes on eye health in both English and Spanish. These educational resources are intended for healthcare professionals, community health educators, diabetes educators, and anyone in a caregiving or diabetes education role.

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Reduce Your Risk Of Diabetic Retinopathy

You can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, or help prevent it getting worse, by:

  • controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • taking your diabetes medicine as prescribed
  • attending all your screening appointments
  • getting medical advice quickly if you notice any changes to your vision
  • maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising regularly and stopping smoking

Read more about how to prevent diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetes Cataracts And Glaucoma

How Diabetes Affects Your Eyes (Retinopathy, Glaucoma, Cataracts, Macular Edema)

A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye. Excess blood sugar from diabetes can cause a cataract that could require surgery to remove. Gaining control over your blood sugar is the best way for patients with diabetes to avoid cataracts.

Glaucoma damages your eyes optic nerve when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. The extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye. This is what damages your optic nerve. Patients with diabetes can get new blood vessels that grow and clog up the drain in the eye. This causes severe pressure, pain, and sometimes vomiting. Eye drops, oral medication, injections of medication, and surgery are all treatment options for the type of glaucoma that is associated with diabetes. It is recommended to consult your eye doctor about the treatment option thats best for you.

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How Can Diabetes Affect Your Eyes

Diabetes occurs when your body does not properly process food as energy. When you have diabetes, your body either does not respond to or does not produce insulin, which is a hormone that delivers glucose to the cells in your body. Having too much glucose in the bloodstream, outside the cells where it belongs, can lead to damage of the blood vessels and nerves that run throughout your body, including to the eyes.

Diabetic Eye Disease Prevention

The best way to prevent diabetes-related eye problems is to manage your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.Ways you can help prevent eye problems caused by diabetes include:

  • Control your blood sugar. Your doctor can provide direction on how to keep your blood sugar normal and avoid fluctuations that can lead to diabetic eye diseases. In addition to getting your eyes checked, its also very important to keep the blood sugars under control, says Cai. This is not only good for you overall, but also good for your eyes.
  • Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Get recommendations from your doctor on ways you can combat high blood pressure and cholesterol, because these can worsen diabetic eye disease.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking can cause further damage to your blood vessels, including the ones in your eyes, so its very important to stop smoking.
  • Avoid harmful rays. Protect yourself from the suns harmful ultraviolet rays by wearing sunglasses. Exposure to these rays can speed up the progression of cataracts.

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How Often Should You Get An Eye Exam

Because you have diabetes, you need a comprehensive eye exam every year from an ophthalmologist or optometrist who knows about the eye problems that are a risk with diabetes.

For adults with type 1 diabetes, itâs recommended that you have a dilated eye exam within 5 years of being diagnosed, and then shift to an annual exam.

About 1 in 5 people with type 2 diabetes have some eye problems when theyâre diagnosed. So getting an eye exam right after your type 2 diagnosis is key. After that, you would get your eyes screened every year. If your results are normal, some eye doctors might suggest moving your exams to every 2 or 3 years.

For women with diabetes who become pregnant, youâll need an eye exam during your first trimester. Youâll also need to be checked again a year after you give birth. Talk to your eye doctor about the effects pregnancy can have on your eyes.

Q: Is There A Way To Prevent Diabetes

Diabetic Retinopathy: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment â Healthsoul

This depends on the type of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a rare form of diabetes, affecting only 5%-10% of diabetics. Symptoms develop fairly early in life due to a DNA or genetic cause, and there is no known method of prevention.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting between 90% and 95% of diabetics. It develops over many years and can be prevented or slowed with the right medications, diet, weight maintenance and exercise.

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