How Is Diabetes Connected to the Eyes?
Your eye is supplied by a series of delicate blood vessels. High blood sugar levels, a common symptom of diabetes, can block these blood vessels in the eyes, preventing blood flow. This damage can lead to diabetic eye diseases, like glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic macular edema.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that occurs when vessels behind the retina become damaged and blocked from high blood sugar levels. When they’re blocked, they can bulge and leak, permanently damaging your vision. This early stage is called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy.
As this eye disease worsens, it can become proliferative diabetic retinopathy. At this stage, damaged blood vessels close off, prompting new, abnormal vessels to grow on the surface of the retina. These new blood vessels can lead to serious vision complications.
Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a serious complication of diabetic retinopathy. It occurs when diabetes causes swelling in the macula. Over time, DME can destroy sharp, central vision, causing partial vision loss.