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Diabetic retinopathy is the most common form of eye problem affecting people with diabetes, but further diabetes-related eye problems are common, such as glaucoma and cataracts.

Both glaucoma and cataracts can have a serious influence on vision. Diabetic eye disease is a term that encompasses a range of eye problems. At their most extreme, each of these conditions can cause loss of vision and even blindness.

People with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from cataracts or glaucoma than the general population.

Diabetes eye problems occur when blood glucose levels are left untreated, or may be hereditary and exacerbated by diabetes (such as cataracts and glaucoma).

A simple visit to an ophthalmologist could help to stop thousands of people each year from going blind, this is why people with diabetes should have a dilated eye examination at least once per year.

Major studies have shown that laser surgery lowers the risk of vision loss from diabetic eye disease. However, once diabetic eye problems have damaged the vision laser treatment is not effective in reversing damage.

Diabetes eye problems are directly linked to blood sugar control. Consistent control of blood glucose reduces the development and procession of diabetic eye problems considerably. This was proven amongst type 2 patients in the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most well-known diabetes eye complication and can lead to blindness and vision problems. Diabetic retinopathy progresses through three clear stages:

  • Background neuropathy
  • Maculopathy
  • Proliferative retinopathy

Free NHS eye tests available


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