Clearing The Path: Navigating Diabetes And Its Impact On Vision | My iClinic
Clearing The Path: Navigating Diabetes And Its Impact On Vision

Clearing The Path: Navigating Diabetes And Its Impact On Vision

Yvonne Luo|

When you have Diabetes, you will find that your blood glucose level is very high and needs treatment immediately.

Diabetes occurs when people have too much glucose (sugar) in their blood; this is usually because of a poor diet and weight.

Glucose is what gives us our energy so it is needed, but too much can be dangerous and life-changing.

According to The Diabetes Research Institute, worldwide, it afflicts more than 422 million people.

Our body releases insulin to help the glucose enter our blood to then enter our cells. If you have diabetes, this system does not work meaning your pancreas no longer senses when glucose has entered your bloodstream and has not released the right amount of insulin.

Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition that comes in two forms:

Type 1 -  When you have this form, it means that your body can’t make any insulin at all. People with Type 1 diabetes are given insulin regularly to maintain their levels. The amount of insulin prescribed is based on food intake, exercise, stress, emotions and general health.

Type 2 - When you have this form, your body either can’t produce enough insulin or it doesn’t work effectively. According to the NHS, this is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2. Although your body may not effectively produce insulin, suffers will not be dependent on insulin. Instead, treatment will focus on their diet and exercise.

The Affect On Your Body

After having diabetes for a long period of time, it can start to have an effect on your body. Those who continue to have high glucose levels in their blood may experience damage to their:

  • Heart- diabetes doubles your risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Eyes (diabetic eye disease, cataract, glaucoma and retinal damage)
  • Kidneys — the ability to filter waste products from your blood
  • Reproductive system — if you are pregnant and develop gestational
    diabetes you are at risk of high blood pressure. It is important for women who are pregnant to keep an eye out for preeclampsia and eclampsia
  • Circulation — diabetes is at risk of developing high blood pressure which puts a further strain on your heart.

If your pancreas produces little or no insulin, even when your body can’t use it, alternate hormones are used to turn fat into energy. This can be dangerous for your body as it means that high levels of toxic chemicals are now in your body.

These can include:

  • Acids
  • Ketone Bodies — which can lead to a condition known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis

What Effects Does Diabetes Have On The Eyes?

Diabetes can have several significant effects on the eyes, collectively known as diabetic eye disease. These conditions primarily result from changes in the blood vessels of the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The main eye complications associated with diabetes include:

Diabetic Retinopathy

This is the most common eye condition associated with diabetes. It occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina. There are two main types:

  • Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR): In the early stages, small blood vessels in the retina weaken and leak fluid or blood. This might not cause noticeable symptoms, but it's important to monitor and manage it to prevent progression.
  • Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR): In more advanced stages, new abnormal blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These vessels can bleed into the eye and cause severe vision problems.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

This condition is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy, where fluid accumulates in the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp vision. It can lead to blurred or distorted vision.


People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing cataracts at an earlier age. A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which affects vision.


Diabetes can increase the risk of glaucoma, a condition characterised by increased pressure within the eye. Over time, this pressure can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss.

Blurry Vision

Fluctuating blood sugar levels can cause temporary changes in vision. This can often be improved by getting blood sugar levels under control.

Double Vision

High blood sugar levels can affect the muscles controlling eye movement, leading to double vision.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Diabetes can lead to a reduction in the production of tears, causing dryness and discomfort in the eyes.

Corneal Abnormalities

Diabetes may affect the cornea, the clear front part of the eye. This can lead to problems like corneal erosions or decreased sensitivity.

Retinal Detachment

In severe cases, abnormal blood vessels in the retina can lead to scarring, which may cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye.

It's important for individuals with diabetes to have regular eye examinations. Early detection and treatment of diabetic eye conditions can significantly reduce the risk of severe vision loss. Maintaining good blood sugar control, managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and adopting a healthy lifestyle are all crucial steps in preventing or managing diabetic eye disease. If you have diabetes, consult with your healthcare provider for personalised advice and care.

In Case Of An Emergency!

If someone experiences an emergency related to diabetes or an associated eye condition, it's crucial to act promptly. Here are the steps they should take:

  1. Stay Calm: Remaining calm is important to think clearly and take appropriate action.
  2. Contact Emergency Services: If the situation is severe or potentially life-threatening, such as a severe hypoglycemic episode (low blood sugar) or a sudden, severe eye issue, call your local emergency number immediately.
  3. If it's a Blood Sugar Emergency (Hypoglycemia or Hyperglycemia):
    • Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar):
      • Consume a fast-acting source of glucose such as juice, a regular soft drink, or glucose gel.
      • Follow up with a source of longer-lasting carbohydrates like a snack or a meal.
    • Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar):
      • Monitor blood sugar levels if possible.
      • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
      • Follow any specific guidance provided by a healthcare professional.
  4. For Acute Eye Issues:
    • Severe Pain or Sudden Vision Loss:
      • Seek immediate medical attention. Go to the nearest hospital emergency room or call for an ambulance.
    • Chemical Exposure:
      • Rinse the affected eye(s) with clean water for at least 15 minutes. Seek immediate medical attention after rinsing.
    • Foreign Object in the Eye:
      • Do not rub the eye. Blink frequently to try and flush the object out.
      • If the object doesn't come out or if there's pain or discomfort, seek medical attention.
    • Sudden Onset of Flashes or Floaters:
  5. Have Important Information Ready:
    • If you're calling for emergency services, provide information about the person's condition, known allergies, medications, and any relevant medical history, including diabetes and related eye conditions.
  6. Stay in Communication with Healthcare Providers:
    • After the immediate emergency is resolved, follow up with the appropriate healthcare professionals, including your primary care physician, endocrinologist, and ophthalmologist, to ensure proper ongoing care and management.

Remember, in any emergency, it's better to be on the side of caution. Seeking prompt medical attention can often make a significant difference in the outcome.

Controlling The Disease

As soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes, you should take steps to educate yourself about the disease and find out what you can do to control it.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you will need to start eating healthier and increase your levels of exercise.

Additionally, diabetics should be carrying out regular blood tests to ensure that their glucose levels are staying balanced and are not accelerating.

According to Healthy Line, foods to consider are:

  • Fatty Fish such as Salmon, Sardine and Mackerel are great sources of Omega-3
  • Greens — these are low in carbs meaning your blood sugar levels will stay low. Vegetables such as Spinach and Kale contain several types of vitamins and minerals
  • Eggs — regular egg consumption can reduce your heart disease risk in

If you take care and start controlling your diabetes, you will find that you will have more energy, be less tired and thirsty, have fewer skin or bladder infections and generally heal better.

The better you control your blood sugar levels, the less likely you are to develop serious conditions, most importantly in the early stages of your diagnosis.

Discover A Clearer Vision For A Brighter Future!

Living with diabetes comes with its unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to your eyesight. At My-iClinic, we're dedicated to providing comprehensive, specialised care to help you maintain optimal eye health and visual clarity.

Discover Our Diabetes Eye Care Solutions

Comprehensive Eye Examinations: Our experienced team of ophthalmologists specialises in diabetes-related eye conditions. We offer thorough eye exams to detect issues early, so you can take proactive steps to protect your vision.

State-of-the-Art Technology: My-iClinic is equipped with cutting-edge diagnostic tools and equipment to provide you with accurate assessments and personalised treatment plans.

Telemedicine Options: We understand that convenience matters. Access our expert care from the comfort of your home through telemedicine consultations, ensuring you receive timely guidance and support.

Diabetes Management: Our holistic approach includes not only eye care but also diabetes management. We work closely with your healthcare team to ensure your overall health is optimised.

Patient-Centered Care: Your well-being is our top priority. We take the time to listen, educate, and empower you to make informed decisions about your eye health.

Get Started Today: Don't wait until eye problems worsen. Take control of your vision and diabetes management with My-iClinic.

Your eyes are precious, and they deserve the best care possible. Let My-iClinic be your partner in the fight against diabetes-related eye issues. Together, we can safeguard your vision for a brighter and healthier future.

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