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Diabetic Retinopathy: 9 Ways to Tell If Diabetes is Affecting Your Eyes

Diabetes is Affecting Your Eyes


Do you know diabetes is one of the leading causes of loss of vision in adults? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), around 34.2 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 out of 5 don’t even know they have the disease. Where diabetes is the number 1 reason for lower-limb amputations and kidney failure, it is also one of the significant reasons for adult blindness. 

It’s crucial to know the symptoms even if you’re not a diabetic patient. If you have a diabetic family member, parents, or siblings, the wise thing is to get your genetic testing done to ensure you don’t have diabetes. 

So—How can you tell if diabetes is affecting your eyes? There are several ways you can identify the diabetic eye in the early stages before it gets worse.

Diabetic Retinopathy

How does diabetic affecting the eyes? Doctors use the term diabetic retinopathy for all types of eye disorders caused by diabetes.

One of the diabetes complications of the retinal disorder, Diabetic Retinopathy, happens when diabetes damages the blood vessels of sensitive tissue of the eye (retina). Both type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients are at the highest risk of getting this disease.

Stages Of Diabetic Retinopathy

Different stages of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Mild nonproliferative
  • Moderate nonproliferative 
  • Severe nonproliferative
  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic Eyes Symptoms

Diabetic eyes symptoms might not be visible in the early stage, but as the disease progress, you may experience:

  • Vision loss
  • Blurry Vision
  • Fluctuating vision 
  • Dark areas in your vision
  • Distorted Vision 

Types of Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy can stabilize with maintaining an average blood sugar level. Two major types of retinopathy are:

  1. Nonproliferative: 

Nonproliferative commonly has three stages and usually starts with capillaries in the eye, which form pouches.

  1. Proliferative: 

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is an advanced type of disease. Due to low oxygen levels, blood vessels start to grow and create gel-like fluid at the back of the eye.


Cataracts are disorders caused by diabetes that slowly cloud the eye lens. Cataracts mainly develop in young diabetic patients compared to adult diabetics.

Diabetic eyes symptoms include:

  • Clouded vision
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Faded colors
  • Glare around lights
  • Vision doesn’t improve even after wearing prescribed eyeglasses.


Another eye disorder is called Hyperglycemia. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, the glucose starts to build up in the blood and causes Hyperglycemia. It is one of the conditions that affect the eyes as well. Besides the loss of vision, you might feel:

  • Headache
  • Increased urine and thirst
  • Fatigue

If it isn’t treated by lowering blood sugar levels can lead to blindness.


Diabetes can build pressure inside the eyes, which can lead to glaucoma. It distorts the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss. According to the National Eye Institute, people with diabetes are at more risk than others. 

Symptoms of glaucoma include:

  • Tunnel vision loss
  • Halos around light
  • Loss of Peripheral vision
  • Eye redness
  • Vomiting
  • Ocular pain (pain in the eye)

9 Signs To Identify If Diabetes Is Affecting Your Eyes

Does Diabetes is Affecting Your Eyes? Listed down are nine signs to identify the diabetic eye before it gets worse.

1- Chronic Eye Fatigue

Eye fatigue is a common issue that mainly occurs by spending too much time glued to mobile or laptop screens. However, if your eye strain continues causing discomfort and doesn’t recover after resting your eyes, this might be another symptom of something more severe than simple eye fatigue.

2- Infection and Discharge

Discharge or infection does not always happen because of diabetes, but it can signify that your eyes are affected. Getting an eye exam does not only allow your doctor to identify eye issues, but it can also be necessary for healthy eyes. Sometimes infection clears up on its own. Often infections need medical treatment because they can create itchiness, discharge, or redness and damage the tissues of the eyes.

3- Change in Night Vision

Have you noticed any difference in your vision while driving? Can you see the road and street signs? When your night vision starts to get blurry, it’s a sign of something wrong with your eyesight. You feel difficulty while distinguishing different objects at night and start seeing halos around light.

4- Continual Headache

Headaches are caused by many reasons, including stress, depression, inflammation, or muscle tension. Vision change is also a reason behind having severe continuous headaches. If you are experiencing constant headaches, you need to get an eye exam right away.

5- Vision Loss

Vision disruption moves around your eyes like auras, floaters,s or black spots. It’s a severe condition, and if you have it and a headache, the chances of diabetic eyes are higher. Get your eye checked immediately to spot it in the early stage.

6- Sensitivity to Light

When your eyes get affected because of infections or corneal abrasion, it becomes sensitive towards the light. Patients with eye disorders feel difficulty while using a mobile or computer screen if this sounds like you get your eyes checked by medical professionals. 

7- Difficulty in Focusing

Like eye strain, having difficulty focusing can occur due to laptop screens or reading small text for too long. If you experience difficulty while doing screen work or reading text and can’t focus, it signifies a more significant issue that needs a checkup.

8-Redness in Eyes

Sometimes you feel the blurry vision and itchy eyes, which cause redness, but it’s not true all of the time. If you feel redness that keeps getting worse by the passing of each day, then it can be another sign of diabetic eye. 

9- Increased Thirst and Urine

Some diabetic patients experience increased urine and thirst problems, and it is common among diabetic patients. If you have diabetes and you are experiencing excessive thirst and urine, this can be one of the diabetic eye signs.

FAQs: How to Tell if Diabetes is Affecting Your Eyes

1- Does blurry vision from diabetes go away?

Blurry vision caused by diabetes is a temporary problem. High blood sugar level affects the eye lens to swell, which disturbs the vision. Once the blood sugar level comes back to normal, the blurry vision goes away as well.

2- What does diabetic eye look like?

When diabetes affects your eyes, retina blood vessels bleed and stimulate the growth of scar tissue. It pushes the retina away, and you can see spots like dark, floating streaks. Sometimes it goes away on its own, but it’s crucial to get the treatment done as soon as possible. 

3- How long does it take for diabetes to date the age of eyes?

There is no particular period for diabetes to affect the eyes. When your eye lens starts to swell because of diabetes, it infers that your eyes are affected. You need to get back your sugar level to the normal range to save your eyes from further damage. It usually takes 2-3 months to recover the vision entirely.

4- Do all people with diabetes go blind?

The risk of retinopathy is high among type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. People take their eye protection for granted. The disease can be prevented if it is diagnosed early. However, less than 5% of people with diabetes go blind.

5- Can lowering blood sugar improve vision?

After you take your blood sugar level back to the normal range, it doesn’t correct your vision immediately. It takes around three months for vision to get back to normal.

When to See a Doctor

If you have diabetes and are experiencing any of these signs, it’s time to get your eye checkup immediately. Visit an eye doctor when you feel vision loss, blurry eyes, or any symptoms, as mentioned earlier. The wise option is to check your diabetes score and eyes regularly if you have diabetes. The diabetic eye is difficult to detect as the sign and symptoms are even familiar among other people regardless of their health situation. Even if you don’t have diabetes, still schedule the eye exam if you face any vision problems.

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