People With Diabetes More Likely To Develop Diseases Of The Eye

People With Diabetes More Likely To Develop Diseases Of The Eye

by Dr. Glenn L Wing
Originally Published in the News-Press on November 18, 2014


According to the American Diabetes Association, almost 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. An additional 86 million
Americans have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.

People with pre-diabetes are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently.

Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle+aged and older adults but can appear in young people. The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.

People with diabetes are 40 percent more likely to develop glaucoma, a condition that occurs when pressure builds up in the eye. The retina and optic nerve can become permanently damaged, resulting in irreversible vision loss. There are many successful treatments available to prevent permanent vision loss from glaucoma such as eye drops, lasers and surgical treatments.

People with diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts, the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. This can cause glare, halos and blurry vision. Cataract surgery can be done to remove cataracts, but people with diabetes can sometimes have complications after successful cataract surgery.

The majority of diabetics will develop some form of diabetic retinopathy. There are several stages of severity of diabetic retinopathy that can involve retinal blood vessel damage, bleeding, swelling and abnormal blood vessel growth. This can also result in loss of vision, sometimes permanently. Treatment for these complications includes laser treatment, eye injections and sometimes surgery.

In the last decade, scientists have discovered many new and more effective diagnostic techniques and treatments for these diseases. In certain cases, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy are managed easily and good vision is maintained.

There many steps you can take if you are diabetic to help prevent vision loss. Keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure under control can slow down the progression of eye, kidney and nerve disease. Good overall health is also vital to successful management of diabetic eye disease.

Dr. Glenn L. Wing is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in diseases of the retina and vitreous with Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida with offices in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Naples and Port Charlotte. The Fort Myers office is located at 6901 International Center Blvd. Call 239-939-4323 or visit