DED Toolkit

How do Diabetes-Related Eye Conditions develop, what are they and are they linked?

People living with diabetes and who have irregular blood glucose levels are at high risk of developing diabetes-related ocular diseases. To reduce this risk, it’s essential to maintain stable blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels. Regular screening is also a crucial part of the process to mitigate the impact of disease, as it allows for the diagnosis of conditions in their early stages and slows their progression.

Diabetes-related eye diseases occur directly as a result of chronic high blood glucose levels disturbing the normal function of all parts of the eye and disrupting signalling networks in all parts of the eye.

The spectrum of diabetes-related eye diseases is vast and includes diabetes-related retinopathy, diabetes-related macular edema, diabetes-related cataract, diabetes-related glaucoma, diabetes-related uveitis, diabetes-related keratopathy and diabetes-related dry eye syndrome. These conditions are not mutually exclusive and people living with diabetes may develop one or many of these eye conditions. For example, the advanced form of diabetes-related retinopathy can progress to diabetes-related macular edema. Diabetes-related retinopathy is of particular concern as it is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the working age population.

However, intensive blood glucose control through diet and medication as outlined in detail in the diabetes-related eye disease toolkit can prevent the onset of diabetes-related retinopathy by up to 76%.

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