Around one in 10 Americans have diabetes*1, which affects the whole body, including the eyes.
Diabetes causes elevated levels of glucose (a type of sugar) in your blood. Insulin controls your blood glucose levels. If your body can’t make enough insulin or your insulin can’t work properly, you will develop diabetes. There are 2 main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes
This is caused by damage to the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. It usually develops in your teens and requires that you have regular insulin injections.
Type 2 diabetes
This occurs when your body can’t make enough insulin or your insulin can’t work properly. Around 95% of Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes*2 and it usually develops after age 50. It can be managed by changing your diet and taking medication.
How does diabetes affect your eyes?
Diabetes can cause diabetic eye disease, which refers to a collection of eye diseases caused by diabetes, including:
Diabetic eye disease can cause permanent vision loss. If you keep your diabetes under control, you should be able to prevent significant damage to your eyes.
It is important for all diabetics to have a thorough eye exam every year. This should include pupil dilation and retinal imaging. Pupil dilation involves using eye drops to increase the size of your pupils so your doctor can get a better look inside your eyes. An endocrinologist or primary care physician will want a report yearly stating a diabetic eye exam was performed. We are happy to send this report on each patient’s behalf after their yearly diabetic eye exam is performed.
*1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
*2 American Diabetes Association