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A common type of diabetic eye disease is “diabetic retinopathy.” High blood sugar causes tiny blood vessels in the eye to grow and leak blood and other fluids onto the retina (a thin group of cells at the back of the eye). When light hits the retina, it sends signals to the brain to form visual images.
Warning signs of retinal disease may include:
In early stages, people may not experience any symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to have an eye exam each year. Regular vision tests can detect problems early so it can be treated before vision loss becomes worse.
Diabetics can keep blood sugar and blood pressure levels under control to protect eyes and minimize damage to eyesight. Treatments are also available. One uses a laser to seal blood leaks.
Diabetes has been linked to other eye diseases, including:
Take steps to protect your eyes. Control your diabetes by eating well, staying active and taking your medications as instructed by your doctor.
And remember, yearly eye exams are the best way to spot problems early when they’re easiest to treat. You may even save your eyesight.
For more on eye care, visit the American Diabetes Association.
Originally published 9/21/2016; Revised 2019, 2021
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