Why do you go blind from diabetes?

Worried about going blind with diabetes? Want to reduce your risk of vision loss? You can take steps to control your diabetes and the eye-related issues resulting from it. Read on to learn how to prevent blindness with diabetes. 

Why diabetes may cause blindness

Vision loss from diabetes is usually the result of diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar levels impact the blood vessels in the retina, and the retina is a key element of clear eyesight. The longer the blood sugar levels remain high, the worse the vision loss may get.

The most common cause of blindness from diabetes is macular edema, a complication from diabetic retinopathy. In poorly controlled diabetics, the retinal blood vessels in the macular area of the retina can become leaky, which causes the macula to swell. This swelling leads to blurry vision and vision loss. 

Do all people with diabetes go blind?

No, not all diabetics go blind. Many diabetics who carefully manage their blood sugar levels can enjoy a life with clear vision. Smoking may increase your risk of diabetic retinopathy.

How to reduce the effects of diabetic vision loss

The best way to prevent blindness from diabetes is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Work with your doctor to find the right balance of diet and medication to protect the blood vessels in your eyes. 

If you’ve already experienced some vision loss from diabetes, there are ways to repair or reverse the damage. Treatment may include laser eye therapy, VEGF inhibitors (medicine), corticosteroid injections, and reparative surgeries. 

Will corrective lenses help vision loss from diabetes?

Corrective lenses are not effective solutions for most diabetic vision loss. Glasses and contacts are designed to manipulate light to hit the correct part of your retina. For someone with diabetes, the issue is not the eye’s shape but how the blood sugar affects retina blood vessels. Correcting the blood sugar issues will mitigate the problem, with or without glasses. 

Most eye doctors will not recommend contacts for patients with diabetes because of the risk of corneal abrasion. Diabetes can also change the structure of tears, creating a gritty feeling that doesn’t properly lubricate the eye and lenses. 

Your eye doctor can recommend the best course of treatment based on your vision loss, family history, and overall health concerns.