Diabetes is a major risk factor for some vision-changing eye diseases. Though diabetic retinopathy is among the major disease conditions that can cause vision loss, there are some disease conditions that arise in the cornea of the eye that are equally threatening.
Major diabetes side effects are damage to the nerves and damage to large and small blood vessels. This is the reason for organ damage and death of tissue.
Diabetes and eyes – Corneal diseases
Nerve damage and diabetic neuropathy are very common in diabetes. This leads to disease conditions of the cornea like:
- Corneal edema
- Diabetic keratopathy
This condition is characterized by an accumulation of fluids in the cornea. Normal mechanisms of the cornea allow excess fluid to be pumped out of it through cells. However in diabetes, the ability to pump out excess fluid is lost. This leads to fluid retention and subsequent corneal edema.
Corneal Edema Symptoms
- Distortion of vision
- Blurry vision
- Eye discomfort
- Photophobia or sensitivity to light
- Eye pain
- Seeing halos around the field of vision
- Blisters in the eyes
Diabetic keratopathy is a diabetes complication that affects corneal optical density, corneal thickness, and the cell count in the cornea. It is known that a vast population of people with diabetes are affected by primary diabetic keratopathy.
In its initial stages, diabetic keratopathy shows only nonspecific symptoms and signs. These include:
- Mild staining of the palpebral conjunctiva (generally pink in color)
- Increase in the tear mucus viscosity
- Decreased corneal sensation
As the condition progresses, patients with diabetic keratopathy exhibit clinical symptoms including:
- Damage to the epithelium of the cornea
- Decrease in the perception of the cornea
- Thickening of corneal edema
- Dry eyes