Blurry vision can be one of the most noticeable—and most distressing—signs of diabetes. But blurry vision is only one of several vision changes associated with diabetes, and it can be triggered by a number of different health conditions. If you understand how diabetes can affect your vision and how to help blurred vision from diabetes, you can take steps to protect yourself.
Causes of Blurred Vision with Diabetes
The following are the most common reasons blurred vision can occur in people with diabetes:
Blood Sugar Fluctuations
Excessively high or low blood sugar can cause the natural lens in the eye to swell. This swelling causes blurriness that becomes more severe the longer your blood sugar goes uncontrolled. While it can be very distressing, this type of vision change typically resolves within a few weeks once blood sugar is controlled.
Blurred vision can also happen when starting a new insulin dose is started.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition caused by many years of high blood sugar that affects about 1 in 3 people with diabetes. Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels in the retina and cause a range of symptoms, including the following:
- Blurry vision
- Eye floaters
- Poor night vision
- Changes in color vision
- Visual distortions (e.g., seeing wavy lines)
- Loss of vision
As diabetic retinopathy progresses, symptoms become more severe and more difficult to treat. However, many people experience no symptoms at all in the early stages. An annual retinal exam is typically recommended to detect changes as soon as possible. While vision changes from diabetic retinopathy aren’t often reversible, treatment can stabilize symptoms and help prevent further damage.
Having diabetes doubles your risk of having glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve (the bundle of nerves that transmits signals from the retina to the brain). Vision loss due to glaucoma is irreversible, but treatment can halt progression.
The following are the most common symptoms of glaucoma:
- Hazy or blurry vision
- Loss of peripheral vision or tunnel vision
- Eye pain
- Halos around lights, especially at night
- Red eyes
- Nausea or vomiting
Vision loss due to glaucoma happens very gradually, and the first signs often go unnoticed by the person experiencing them. Routine eye exams are essential to catch and treat glaucoma as early as possible.
People with diabetes are 2–5 times more likely to develop cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye), and they’re more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age. Common cataract symptoms include the following:
- Clouded or blurry vision
- Double vision, usually in just one eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Glare or halos around lights
- Change in color vision
- Vision that doesn’t improve with new glasses
Cataracts usually develop gradually, but diabetes can speed up the process. Vision can often be restored by removing the cataract surgically and replacing it with a clear, artificial lens. This procedure is generally safe and performed on an outpatient basis.
How to Help Blurred Vision from Diabetes
How to help blurred vision from diabetes depends on the cause. If you are experiencing blurred vision, it’s critical to see your healthcare provider to get a diagnosis and start treatment as soon as possible.
While there is no guaranteed way to prevent blurred vision or eye conditions, there are things you can do to set yourself up for success. The following tips can help you support eye health:
- Monitor your blood glucose levels regularly
- Eat a healthy diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and protein
- Exercise regularly to help your blood sugar stay within your target range
- Have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year or as recommended by your healthcare provider
- Talk to your healthcare provider if you notice any changes in your vision
- Take diabetes medication and any eye medication as prescribed
- Talk to all your healthcare providers about any medication changes to make sure treatments prescribed by different specialists don’t interfere with each other
- Wear UV-protective sunglasses outside to prevent UV damage
These tips not only help you manage your eye health but also support overall wellness.
Managing Diabetes for Optimal Vision
Managing your diabetes well is one of the best things you can do to help keep your eyes healthy and your vision as clear as possible. The POGO Automatic® Monitor can make it easier.
The POGO Automatic Monitor uses 10-test cartridges with built-in test strips and lancets, which means you don’t have to keep track of multiple components. Instead, you simply press a button, and the POGO Automatic does the lancing and blood collection for you. And if you choose, you can set up your POGO Automatic to automatically upload your results to the Patterns® for POGO Automatic app, which presents your data in user-friendly visuals that help you and your healthcare provider see patterns and track trends.
POGO Automatic makes blood glucose monitoring fast, simple, and discreet so you can stay on course with your diabetes management plan anywhere, anytime.
Jaclyn Owens is a product director specializing in diabetes management tools. She is committed to using technology to empower people with diabetes and help them take control of their health.
All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.