Diabetes Detection and Vision Impairment

Fundus camera image of the human retina with diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes is sometimes also called diabetes mellitus, and it is a group of sicknesses that affect the metabolism. The sicknesses are characterized by high blood sugar, which can be due to the body’s deficiency in producing insulin or the failure of its cells to react to insulin that is also produced. Diabetes can be detected by a regular eye examination. As far as symptoms of diabetes go, there are some that are visual, including the possibility of total blindness in the afflicted person.


The symptoms of diabetes through vision impairment manifest in different forms of eye problems. For instance, people with diabetes are prone to getting glaucoma and cataracts. Glaucoma is defined as damage to the eye’s optic nerve that stems from increasing pressure to it. This results in you losing sight from the sides of the eyes. Cataracts are defined as clouds that form over the lens of your eye; normally, this lens is clear. Surgery is necessary to correct the problem with cataracts.

Other symptoms of diabetes are not so easily termed as a particular eye condition. Sometimes, the symptoms of diabetes are smaller factors that just have to be watched out for. For example, a telltale symptom of diabetes is the onset of retina damage, which occurs at a slow pace. More specifically, it is actually the small blood vessels within these retinas that weaken and swell as diabetes progresses. As a result, some of these blood vessels can get clogged and fail to allow sufficient blood through, which can lead to a loss of sight in the eye that is affected.

Detection / Screening

Detection and screening—the earlier, the better—is one of the ways that people can ensure that they do not suffer diabetes. A good way to plan this is by seeing an eye care professional at least one time in a year. Do not assume that because the vision is fine that an eye exam is not necessary: Get an eye exam even if your vision has not been presenting any problems. A typical eye exam involves the eye care professional placing drops into the eyes to make the black parts, or pupils, larger. This procedure is known as dilating the eyes, and it permits the eye care professional to see into the back portion of the eyes. Key to stopping major eye issues from occurring later on is the early detection of eye problems and the ensuing early treatment.

Prognosis for those who have been diagnosed

It has to be pointed out that diabetes is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, only managed properly. It can only be cured in very particular cases. The prognosis of those who have been diagnosed is generally quite good if they manage their diabetes very carefully. Proper management of diabetes essentially comes down to two major factors: lifestyle as well as medications. Lifestyle pertains to eating the right diet and also getting the proper exercise into the regular routine of the diabetic person. Medications for diabetes are mostly oral medications, with medications like Metformin being one of the most commonly used for type 2 diabetes in light of evidence that it cuts down mortality rates.


The treatment for diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, generally comes down to the use of insulin, but it is used at different stages depending on the treatment being for type 1 or for type 2. In addition to insulin injections, diabetes is also treated by way of a balanced diet, weight reduction and exercise. If natural methods such as a healthier diet and exercise come short of at least controlling the diabetes, then medications are brought into the picture. At this stage, oral medications are usually recommended.


Diabetes as well as the eye problems that occur as a result of underlying diabetes can be prevented. One of the first approaches to preventing diabetes eye problems is keeping your blood pressure and blood glucose levels low, or at least as close to normal as is possible. Aside from looking after blood pressure and blood glucose, prevention lies mainly in getting regular exercise every week and also eating right. For prevention to work, people are advised to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity for five days each week. Another tip to follow to possibly prevent diabetes involves abstaining from smoking and drinking alcohol, as both have been found to increase the risk of onset of diabetes in people. Finally, finding a decent support group to keep you psychologically focused on a healthier lifestyle is also key to staying healthy and preventing diabetes.

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