Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

Oct 28, 2022 | Eye Health

Did you know that November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month? This disease affects millions of Americans and is the leading cause of blindness in adults aged 20-74. In honor of this month, we want to raise awareness about the risks of diabetic eye disease and what you can do to protect your vision.

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may experience as a complication of the disease. These problems include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common form of diabetic eye disease. It occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can lead to vision loss or even blindness.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy usually only occur once the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage. However, there are some early warning signs that you should be aware of, including blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, and floaters (tiny specks or strings that float in your field of vision). If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see an ophthalmologist right away so that they can diagnose and treat the problem before it gets worse.


Cataracts can be another common complication of diabetes. They occur when changes in the lens of the eye cause it to become cloudy or opaque, resulting in blurry vision. They are common in older adults but can occur in diabetics at younger ages. Cataracts are usually treatable with surgery.


Glaucoma is a condition that damages the optic nerve, which carries information from your eyes to your brain. It is often associated with increased pressure in the eye. Glaucoma can lead to vision loss or even blindness if it’s not treated early on.

Risk Factors for Diabetic Eye Disease

There are several risk factors for developing diabetic eye disease, including:

  • Poorly controlled blood sugar levels
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Family history of diabetes or eye diseases

How You Can Protect Your Vision

The best way to protect your vision is to have regular comprehensive dilated eye exams. These exams allow your eye doctor to check for signs of diabetic eye disease and other problems. People with diabetes should have an exam at least once a year. If you have diabetic retinopathy, you may need more frequent exams so that your doctor can monitor your condition and treat it accordingly. In addition to regular exams, you can also protect your vision by:

  • Keeping your blood sugar levels under control
  • Maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Quitting smoking if you smoke  
  • Eating a healthy diet         
  • Wearing sunglasses when outdoors to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays  
  • Taking care of your overall health
  • Exercising regularly 
  • Managing stress levels  
  • Following your treatment plan if you have been diagnosed with diabetic eye disease  


Diabetic eye disease is a serious complication of diabetes that can lead to vision loss or even blindness if left untreated. However, there are steps that you can take to protect your vision, such as having regular comprehensive dilated eye exams and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits. If you have diabetes, make sure to talk to your doctor about how often you should have an exam and what you can do to keep your eyes healthy. The doctors at Pathway Eye provide diabetic eye exams. Schedule an eye exam at one of our convenient Pathway Eye offices today!