Diabetes and the Eye

All eyes are on diabetes this month. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes, followed by diabetic macular edema, cataracts and glaucoma. Complications from diabetes can be a scary thing to think about, but with proper care and prevention they don’t have to be. The best prevention for vision damage is good diabetic control. For patients showing no diabetic retinopathy we recommend a yearly eye examination with dilation. If you are not familiar with diabetic retinopathy, it is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes, affecting blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue of the retina (which lines the back of the eye and catches light).

Vision can be affected in a couple of ways:

  • As a patient’s sugar levels fluctuate the natural lens in the eye can swell or thin. This will cause a change in vision and glasses prescription.
  • Poorly managed diabetes can cause small blood vessels to lose proper function. As you can imagine, the blood vessels in the eye are tiny and delicate. The retina can be greatly damaged by uncontrolled diabetes. This is when diabetic retinopathy occurs.


Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Seeing spots or floaters in your field of vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty seeing well at night

Often there are no visual symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. Early detection and treatment can decrease the potential for substantial vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.

If we detect signs of diabetic retinopathy, more frequent visits will be needed and possibly treatment. There are various stages of diabetic retinopathy and different guidelines for treatment verses observation. With treatment, the goal is to try to control the amount of damage occurring to the eye/retina. The best prevention though is good diabetic control.

For needs to go beyond routine eye care, our practice provides many levels of medical eye care. To find out more about diabetic eye diseases, schedule your appointment with Antietam Eye Associates today at 717-387-5657. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Healthy eyes that last a lifetime. 

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