One of the worst — and most common — side effects of diabetes is vision loss. The disease attacks the small blood vessels in the back of your eyes, called the retinas. When your retina becomes damaged, it’s called diabetic retinopathy. It’s absolutely vital that you get yearly diabetic eye exams when you have diabetes.
When you have this blood sugar disorder, you’re also at a greater risk of developing glaucoma. Too often, you won’t even notice the damage until it’s too late, which is why you must begin to get annual eye checkups as soon as you receive a diabetes diagnosis. As difficult as life can be with diabetes, it’s even more difficult if you’re also blind.
Diabetic retinopathy is the umbrella term for all diabetes-related eye disease. The primary reason they occur is because high blood sugar levels affect your retina by creating tiny aneurysms that eventually leak blood. New blood vessels grow to replace the damaged ones, but they too weaken and leak. It’s these hemorrhages that cause permanent damage to your retina and lead to blindness.