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Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes

Can Diabetes Cause Blurred Vision?

05/23/2008

Question:

Can diabetes be a cause of blurred vision?

Answer:

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels, or changes in blood sugar levels, affects the lens of the eye and can cause blurred vision. It takes days to weeks for the blurred vision to improve when the blood sugars are corrected. Diabetes has other damaging effects on the eyes apart from the effect to cause blurred vision. One of the most serious is diabetic retinopathy which results from damage to the retinal blood vessels from prolonged periods of high blood sugar.

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness. Early detection of diabetic retinopathy makes early treatment possible. People with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam by an eye specialist at least once a year to detect retinopathy early and treat it.

Other serious eye problems that can be worsened by diabetes include cataracts and glaucoma. A cataract is a condition in which the lens of the eye deteriorates and the person has increasing difficulty seeing. It can be treated by an operation to remove the cataract.

Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure builds up in the eye from interference with the normal flow of fluid through the eye. It can be treated with either medicines, surgery or sometimes a laser. However the best approach for all of these is to prevent them by maintaining the best blood sugar control possible over long periods of time.

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Response by:

Nancy J Morwessel, CNP, MSN, CDE Nancy J Morwessel, CNP, MSN, CDE
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Diabetes Center
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati