Diabetes can harm your eyes. It can damage the small blood vessels in your retina, the back part of your eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes also increases your risk of having glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye problems.
You may not know there is any damage to your eyes until the problem is very bad. Your doctor can catch problems early if you get regular eye exams.
If your doctor finds eye problems early, drugs and other treatments may help prevent them from getting worse.
If you cannot read the labels on your medicines easily, these tips might help you make sure you are taking the correct medicine and the correct dose:
Use felt tip pens to label medicine bottles so you can read them easily.
Use rubber bands or clips to tell them apart.
Ask someone else to give you your medicines.
Always read labels with a magnifying lens.
Use a pill box with compartments for days of the week and times of the day, if you need to take medicines more than once a day.
Never guess when taking your medicines. If you are unsure of your doses, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
Keep medicines and other household items organized in a cabinet so you know where they are.
Use large-print cookbooks to make foods that are on your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or nurse where you can get these books.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor if:
You cannot see well in dim light.
You have blind spots.
You have double vision (you see 2 things when there is only 1).
Your vision is hazy or blurry and you cannot focus.
You have pain in your eyes.
You are having headaches.
You see spots floating in your eyes.
You cannot see things on the side of your field of vision.
You see shadows.
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 2010. Diabetes Care. 2010 Jan;33 Suppl 1:S11-61.
Inzucchi SE, Sherwin RS. Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Goldman L and Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Saunders; 2007: chap 248.
In the clinic. Type 2 diabetes. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Mar 2;152(5):ITC1-16.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.