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Home · Our Services · Diabetes


Patients with diabetes (both type I and type II) are unable to properly use and store sugar properly. High blood sugar levels can affect the eye in several ways.

Rapid changes in blood sugars can affect the lens in the eye. Sometimes this can lead to rapid development of cataracts. In other cases, as blood sugars fluctuate the refractive error (the strength or need for glasses) of the eye can fluctuate also. Eyeglasses that work well when blood sugar is controlled will not work well when it is out of control.

High blood sugars also damage blood vessels throughout the body, including in the retina, the nerve layer in the back of the eye that senses light and sends information via the optic nerve to the brain. Damage to retinal vessels is called "diabetic retinopathy", of which there are two types: nonproliferative and proliferative.

In addition to strict blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol control and not smoking, early detection of diabetic retinopathy is the best protection against loss of vision. Patients with diabetes should have a complete eye examination with an ophthalmologist at least once a year and sometimes more if problems begin to occur. Furthermore, pregnant women with diabetes should be evaluated in the first trimester, because retinopathy can develop or progress rapidly during pregnancy. If you have diabetes and are having vision problems or simply need an annual examination, call Southern Shores Eye Center for an appointment today.

Protecting Your Vision from Diabetes:
The Annual Exam Every Diabetic Needs

Why should people with diabetes get an annual eye exam?
An Eye M.D. and patients explain how it can save your sight
Watch this video on YouTube.