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Diabetic Eye Disease: Know the Symptoms

Diabetes is a complex disease which can effect you in a number of ways. A lot of people aren't aware of how it can put you at risk of developing a few eye-related diseases. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma, as well as many other conditions that, even though they may be seemingly unrelated to your sight, may effect your vision.

Diabetic retinopathy, which occurs as a result of high blood glucose levels causing harm to the blood vessels in the retina, and it's also one of the main causes of adult blindness in North America.

A pretty familiar result of aging, cataracts, which cause a clouding of the eye's lens, and the subsequent worsening of vision, tend to develop earlier in diabetes sufferers.

Individuals with diabetes are double as likely to develop glaucoma, sometimes referred to as the silent thief of sight, which is a serious, sight-threatening condition. Glaucoma results in optic nerve damage, which can lead to loss of vision. If glaucoma goes untreated, the damage can be severe, and irreversible.

Anyone with diabetes, and it doesn't matter whether it is type 1 or type 2 - are at increased chance of developing diabetic eye disease, even more so if their diabetes is uncontrolled. Additional risk factors include:

  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Race í research has shown that African-Americans and Hispanics may be at higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and vision loss.

Symptoms of diabetic eye diseases often vary when blood sugar levels do, and may include:

  • Blurry or distorted vision which is subject to fluctuation
  • Blind spots or floaters
  • Double vision
  • Eye Pain
  • Scotoma
  • Problems with near vision
  • Corneal abrasions

Unfortunately, these symptoms are more than warning signs. The onset of diabetic eye disease can actually occur before its symptoms do.

Early detection can mean the difference between keeping and losing sight, and is often central to avoiding further vision loss and recovery of sight. With this is mind, it is strongly advised that diabetes sufferers go get a yearly eye exam to monitor the health of their eyes. If you or a loved one have diabetes, it's so important to be sure you are educated about diabetic eye disease. Annual eye exams, coupled with proper preventative measures, can save your vision.


Please be advised that all office visits including exams, frame selections, repairs, pick-ups, and drop-offs are by appointment only. We are required to wear a face mask in our office and ask that you bring yours to your appointment.

We are happy to serve our patients and community and are committed to keeping you as safe as possible.

Thank you.

The Shuswap Optometric Team