How do Diabetic Eye Conditions Develop, what are they and are they linked?

How do diabetes-related eye conditions develop, what are they and are they linked?

People whose diabetes is not well controlled, that is when blood glucose levels are not stable, are more at risk of developing diabetic ocular conditions. Diabetes management includes controlling blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels. Regular screening and improved diabetes control can slow the progression of diabetic eye disease especially when initiated soon after diabetes diagnosis. Intensive blood glucose control through diet and medication can prevent the onset of Diabetic Retinopathy by up to 76%. Please see sections for therapy and management of T1D and T2D for more specific information. 

Diabetes-related Eye Diseases occur directly as a result of chronic high blood glucose levels causing disruptions to normal function of all parts of the eye, and disrupting signalling networks in all parts of the eye. The spectrum of DEDs includes Diabetes-related Retinopathy, Diabeties-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 patients 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 and certain types of Diabetes-related Glaucoma; steroid treatment of Diabetes-related Macular Edema and other ocular surface complications associated with diabetes can also induce glaucoma. Cataract surgery at certain stages of disease can exacerbate and progress Diabetes-related Retinopathy and Diabetes-related Macular Edema. Diabetes-related Retinopathy is of particular concern as it the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the working age population 1.