Diabetic retinopathy affects 25% of Canadians. This eye disease occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in your retina, causing permanent vision loss. There are 2 types of diabetic retinopathy:
- Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NDPR), the most common type, occurs when blood vessels leak and swell, damaging your retina and causing vision loss.
- Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) occurs when new blood vessels begin to develop when old vessels close from damage or blockages. However, these new vessels can leak fluids into the vitreous humour or cause scar tissue to develop, increasing the risk of retinal detachment.
Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetic macular edema is a common complication of diabetic retinopathy. As diabetic retinopathy develops, fluids leaking from your blood vessels could accumulate in your macula (a part of your retina responsible for providing your central vision), causing it to swell and damage your vision.
Diabetes can nearly double your risk of developing open-angle glaucoma. This disease is the most common form of glaucoma, occurring when the drainage angle between your iris and cornea remains open, but fluids inside your eye do not drain rates to maintain stable intraocular pressure (IOP) levels.
Your IOP levels can rise over time and eventually damage your optic nerve, causing vision loss.
Cataracts are common as you age, but diabetes could increase the risk of developing this condition. Cataracts occur when the lenses inside your eye become denser and less flexible, creating areas of opaqueness.
Glasses or contact lenses may correct vision errors caused by cataracts, but the only way to remove them is through cataract surgery. This surgery replaces your cataract lens with an artificial intraocular lens.