Blurry vision and diabetes
Blurry vision is one of the more common visual symptoms experienced by people with diabetes. It can be a symptom of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. But why does diabetes make vision appear out of focus — and can it be fixed?
If you have diabetes and experience permanent or long-term stretches of blurry vision, it could be a sign that your diabetes isn’t being managed well enough.
The blood sugar spikes (hyperglycemia) associated with diabetes are often the cause behind blurred vision in diabetics. When blood sugar levels are too high, the eye’s natural lens retains water and starts to swell. Since light has to pass through the lens before it can be focused on the retina, the result is blurry vision.
Changes in the eye’s lens from diabetes also can result in early cataracts, which is another common cause of blurry vision.
SEE RELATED: Diabetic eye disease
Does blurry vision from diabetes go away?
When a visual disturbance is caused by a blood sugar spike, the blurry vision caused by diabetes can usually be reversed — but the effect will be temporary. Any blurred vision should subside when blood glucose returns to normal. However, blurriness may come back any time your blood sugar levels get too high.
When blurry vision with diabetes is caused by swelling of the eye’s lens, it can take several weeks for blood sugar and eyesight to return to normal.
Diabetes also can cause damage to the retina and blood vessels in the back of the eye — a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
The term “retinopathy” means that the retina has been damaged in some way. The retina is the thin layer of tissue in the back of the eye that processes light. When the retina is damaged, blurry vision, and eventually vision loss or blindness, can occur.
When this happens, blurry vision will not go away. But with the help of diabetic retinopathy treatment, damage can be slowed or stopped, reducing the risk of further vision loss.
Keeping in touch with your eye doctor
Frequent check-ups with your eye doctor are critical to ensuring any eye damage is diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Retinopathy can start long before you notice visual symptoms, including blurry vision.
Be sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist if you have diabetes and haven’t seen an eye doctor in a while.
READ MORE: What is a diabetic eye exam?
Page updated November 2020