Diabetes Eye Problems and Glaucoma


One of the most common eye problems affecting people with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. Apart from other health complications, diabetes can cause some serious damage to the eyes. But, the topic ‘diabetes and eye problems’ is not limited to diabetic retinopathy alone. Other diabetes related eye problems like cataracts and glaucoma can cause some serious damage. Both these conditions seriously impair a person’s vision. The term ‘diabetic eye disease’ actually refers to various eye problems.

Compared to the general population, people with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from eye problems. If neglected or left untreated, eye problems including cataracts and glaucoma can cause partial or complete loss of vision.

Diabetes eye problems – What are the causes?

Blood glucose levels are the primary cause for eye problems in diabetics. They can also be hereditary or be worsened by diabetes. In most cases, a simple visit to the eye specialist can help in early detection of any eye problem. But sadly, most people (especially diabetics) fail to do so and this causes either partial or complete blindness in thousands of people every year.

When a condition can be avoided, why wait for it to get worse? This is exactly the question you need to ask yourselves. It is very important for people with diabetes to go for a complete eye check-up at least once in a year.

Can the treatment for diabetic eye disease reverse vision damage?

A lot of studies have been carried out by researchers to determine whether treatment for diabetes eye problems can reverse vision damage. Laser surgery is effective in lowering the risk of vision loss caused by diabetic eye problems according to the data collected from the studies.

However, if there is extensive loss to the vision, then laser treatment may not be effective.

Diabetic retinopathy

This condition can lead to vision problems and blindness. It progresses through three stages:

  • Background neuropathy
  • Maculopathy
  • Proliferative retinopathy

diabetes eye problems


Glaucoma is a diabetic eye disease. This disease also occurs in people without diabetes but it occurs more frequently in people with diabetes. Our eye is filled with a fluid. Constantly, new fluid is made and the old fluid is removed through a drainage mesh work toward the front of the eye.

When the drainage system is blocked, then the fluid pressure within the eye is increased. This condition is known as glaucoma.This pressure increase can damage the nerves going from the back of the eye to the brain and cause vision loss.

Treatment of Glaucoma

The diabetic eye disease glaucoma is treated with the help of eye drops. Some of the types of eye drops used to treat glaucoma are :

  • Beta-blocker eye drops such as betaxolol (Betoptic), timolol (Timoptic) and levobunolol (Betagan) decrease the amount of fluid produced. They are generally safe for use, but they can cause breathing problems in asthma or chronic bronchitis patients.
  • Miotic eye drops such as carbachol (Isopto Carbachol) and pilocarpine (Isopto Carpine) make the pupil smaller, contract the iris and open the drainage channels for the fluid drainage.
  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors such as dorzolamide (Trusopt) also decrease the amount of fluid produced. Sometimes when people use this type of eye drop, they complain of nausea.

If the eye drops do not work, then an eye operation (trabeculectomy) is performed to allow the fluid to drain.

To conclude, diabetes eye problems can be prevented by early detection and better blood sugar control. Make sure that you visit an eye specialist for a regular check-up and stay safe.


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