People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those who are not diabetic. As soon as you've been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. At Bay Eye Center we perform a thorough retinal exam through dilated pupils to check for any diabetic complications including diabetic retinopathy.
Everyone who has diabetes is at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, but not all diabetics do develop it. In the early stages, you may not notice any change in your vision. This is why annual exams are recommended even if you have no symptoms. Changes in glucose levels increase your risk of diabetic retinopathy, as does long-term diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina. It can cause "blind spots," blurry vision, and vision loss. Vision may change from day to day, or even from morning to evening. This fluctuating vision can interfere with many, if not most, everyday activities.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:
People with diabetes are also more likely to develop cataracts at an earlier age. A cataract occurs from clouding of the normally clear lens which focuses light onto the retina. Cataracts probably form sooner in diabetics due to fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which draw water into the lens, making vision cloudy.