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Diabetes and the Eye

Picture of fruits and veggies, and a glucometer
How does diabetes affect your eyes?

Patients who have diabetes often present with more complex eye issues that may require more frequent visits to the optometrist to help monitor for diabetes-related eye disease.

Keep reading to learn about some common ocular issues that can stem from diabetes.


Fluctuation of Spectacle Prescription

Large changes in blood sugar can often shift a person's prescription. This may result in blurry vision that can continue to worsen until the blood sugar stabilizes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Bleeding in the retina, retinal deposits, and retinal blood vessel changes are frequently seen in poorly controlled cases of diabetes. These findings can have worrying effects on vision, which if untreated can sometimes result in permanent vision loss.

Early Cataracts

Cataracts are more easily formed in patients who have diabetes, and can occur even in younger patients. As cataracts progress, it becomes more difficult to correct vision with only glasses or contact lenses. Typically, surgery to remove the cataract is needed in order to restore vision.


If you suffer from diabetes, an annual visit to your optometrist is the best way to detect early signs of diabetic eye disease. If you're booking a visit, it's helpful to bring a list of your medications to the exam so that your optometrist can have a better understanding of how your diabetes is being treated.

You are also likely to require a dilated fundus exam, which allows the doctor to see your retina more clearly (so bring your sunglasses, because you will be sensitive to lights after the appointment!).

By Dr. Peter Chan, OD.


Stay tuned for more tips, tricks, and answers to your frequently answered questions! In the meantime, if you haven’t had your eyes checked in a while, why not use our handy exam request form and make an appointment with one of our friendly optometrists?

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