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How Can Diabetes Affect Vision?
Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates

December 2017

Dr. Jonathan A. Seidenberg is a board-certified ophthalmologist and the President and CEO of Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates. He is chief of ophthalmology at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and Harford Memorial Hospital in Harford County and is president/medical director of Mid-Atlantic Surgery Pavilion, located in Aberdeen, Md.

Diabetes can affect many different parts of your body, including your eyes. Understanding the effects of this common disease on vision can help diabetics avoid permanent damage.

It’s important for diabetic patients to understand that their disease can have a dramatic impact on their vision. These diabetic eye diseases have the potential to cause permanent blindness or severe vision loss. That’s why regular screenings are important. The diseases connected with diabetes include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Of these diseases, diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when the retinal blood vessels change and begin to leak fluid, is the leading cause of blindness among adults of working age. It’s also the most common reason for diabetic patients to have vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy can cause diabetic macular edema, or the swelling of the macula. If caught early, this disease is treatable to help stop the progression of the disease and the resulting vision loss.

The proper control of blood sugar is the best way to prevent complications of diabetes. Diabetics who are active, eat well and take their medications as prescribed can delay or even prevent problems. Due to a lack of symptoms, patients typically will not recognize the onset of these diabetic related eye diseases, thus, an annual comprehensive eye exam with dilation is an important step for early diagnosis.

With early detection and treatment, you can protect your vision, even while dealing with the struggles of living with diabetes.

Seidenberg Protzko Associates