Diabetes mellitus is a disease caused by the inability of the pancreas to make enough insulin and, consequently, our body accumulates too much sugar in its bloodstream. Diabetes can lead to eye pathologies that, in the most severe cases, can result in low vision or even blindness.

Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic eye disease. Risk increases when high blood glucose or high blood pressure is not treated. High cholesterol or smoking are also risk factors.

In the initial stages, ocular pathology may not present symptoms. In more advanced stages, the patient may experience blurred vision, decreased visual acuity, or black spots the vision field.

Main ocular pathologies associated with diabetes

The most common condition among people with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. Approximately one in three people with diabetes over 40 years of age has some clinical signs of this pathology. Likewise, it is the most frequent cause of decreased vision in these patients.

Diabetes can also cause swelling in the macula, a clinical sign known as diabetic macular oedema. This causes a decrease in visual acuity and, if not treated, can severely compromise vision.

Finally, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma or cataracts compared to people without the disease.

Doctor Santiago Abengoechea, ophthalmologist in the Retina and Vitreous area.

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People with diabetes are predisposed to suffer complications in their eye health such as diabetic retinopathy or macular edema. These conditions may not present symptoms initially and cause irreversible damage, but they can be prevented with ophthalmological check-ups.