What you need to know about diabetic eye disease

More than 40 percent of patients who have diabetes develop some form of eye disease as a result. Regular eye exams and controlling blood sugar levels can help.

Here’s what you need to know about diabetic eye disease and how to prevent or treat it.


  • High blood sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels in the eye. This can lead to conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma, which cause vision loss and blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Diabetic retinopathy happens when a lack of oxygen in the blood leads to loss of vision in diabetics who have uncontrolled high sugar count in the blood.
  • What’s dangerous about these eye conditions is that they can often develop with no noticeable loss of vision or pain. By the time patients notice symptoms, significant damage may have been done. This is why annual or more frequent eye exams are important for people who have diabetes. Early detection can prevent or prolong damage.
  • Comprehensive eye exams consist of several different tests, including a visual acuity test that measures your vision at various distances and a dilated eye exam that looks closely at the structures in the eye for signs of disease.
  • If you are in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, you shouldn’t need any treatment if you are controlling blood pressure, blood cholesterol and the levels of your blood sugar. In later stages, you may need laser treatments depending on the condition of your eyes.
  • The best way to prevent or reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic eye disease is to manage your diabetes with a healthy diet and exercise. Monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and control your blood pressure and cholesterol. If you smoke, try to stop. Smoking increases your risk of diabetes complications. If you notice any vision changes such as blurry, spotty or hazy vision, call your eye doctor immediately.

If you are interested in learning more about diabetic eye disease, call our Everett office at (425) 259-2020.

Posted in: Diabetic Eye Disease

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Physicians Eye Clinic
3930 Hoyt Ave
Everett, WA 98201
Tel: (425) 259-2020

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  • Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm
Gallery of Eyewear
  • Monday-Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm