How can diabetes affect the retinas of my eyes?
Diabetes can damage the retinas of your eyes. High blood sugar levels and high blood pressure can cause the tiny blood vessels of your retinas to swell, weaken and possibly clog. Over time, blood vessels may break and leak blood into the vitreous (the gel-like fluid within the eye), also blocking light from reaching your retinas. This can cause blurry vision, flashing lights or blank spots, floating spots or darkness. The damaged blood vessels can also form scar tissue, which could pull the retina away from the back of the eye. This could lead to retinal detachment and partial or total blindness that may be permanent if you don't seek immediate medical care. Keeping your blood glucose and your blood pressure within a normal range are important ways to protect your eyes from retinal damage from diabetes. Also follow your doctor's recommendations for regular eye examinations to monitor the health of your eyes.

Retina damage happens slowly in diabetes. Your retinas have tiny blood vessels that are easy to damage. Having high blood glucose and high blood pressure (BP) for a long time can damage these tiny blood vessels.

First, these tiny blood vessels swell and weaken. Some blood vessels then become clogged and do not let enough blood through. At first, you might not have any loss of sight from these changes. Have a dilated eye exam once a year even if your sight seems fine.

One of your eyes may be damaged more than the other. Or, both eyes may have the same amount of damage.

"Diabetic retinopathy" is the medical term for the most common diabetes eye problem.

This answer is bases on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Continue Learning about Diabetic Retinopathy (Eye Damage)

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.