Types of Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the tiny blood vessels in the eye are weakened, causing them to swell, rupture, and leak into the field of vision. New, abnormal blood vessels can grow, or the blood vessels can close off completely, depriving the eye of blood and oxygen.
Diabetic retinopathy can lead to significant changes in your ocular health and vision, and if left untreated, can even lead to blindness.
Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetic macular edema (DME) often occurs as a result of untreated diabetic retinopathy. Macular edema occurs when a build-up of fluid around the central-most part of the retina, called the macula. The fluid causes the macula to swell and thicken, distorting vision.
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that damage and weaken the optic nerve. Diabetes can cause unregulated spikes in blood pressure, which can lead to elevated intraocular pressure. High IOP is often related to the optic nerve damage characteristic of glaucoma. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma for this reason.
Cataracts occur when the clear lens in the eye begins to cloud over. Those with diabetes are twice as likely to develop cataracts. Researchers have thought that unregulated glucose levels characteristic of diabetes cause deposits to build up in the lenses of the eyes, creating blurred vision.