Eye Diseases Associated With Diabetes

Having diabetes raises the risk of developing a number of eye problems, including the following:

Diabetic retinopathy. Damage to the smallest blood vessels serving the light-sensitive retina of the eye. Retinopathy results in bleeding, leakage of serum and other blood components, a decreased oxygen supply, and the possible development of new but abnormal blood vessels that bleed profusely and cause fibrovascular scar tissue that detaches the retina, causing severe loss of vision.

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Cataract. A clouding of the eye’s internal lens that results in loss of vision.

Glaucoma. Damage to the optic nerve associated with increased internal eye pressure, leading to permanent loss of vision. It typically causes few or no symptoms until late in the disease.

Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. A sudden loss of blood supply to the optic nerve, resulting in severe vision loss. It can be thought of as a stroke of the optic nerve.

Keratopathy. Chronic damage to the cornea (the clear “windshield” at the front of the eye), causing irritation, redness, dry eye, reflex watering of the eyes, and sometimes impaired vision.

Eye muscle palsy. A loss of blood supply to the nerves responsible for controlling the coordinated movements of both eyes, resulting in double vision.

Retinal vascular occlusion. A sudden blockage of the arteries or veins serving the retina, sometimes resulting in severe vision loss.