A common complication of diabetes is disease of the retina, or retinopathy. The retina contains cells that convert light into neural signals for visual perceptions. If left untreated, retinopathy can lead to visual impairment and blindness. For people with diabetes, the risk for blindness is 25 times greater than for people without diabetes.
Blood Vessel Damage and Retinopathy
Too much sugar in the blood can cause damage to the blood vessels. The science behind the damage is still being investigated; however, some research has found that high amounts of sugar and lipids in the blood lead to inflammation. For people who produce little insulin or whose bodies cannot respond to insulin normally, the enzymes that help reduce inflammation do not function effectively. As a result, people living with diabetes are prone to damage to their blood vessels. When the damage is to the vessels that supply the retina, the risk of retinopathy increases.
If You Live with Diabetes:
Control your blood pressure. Research has shown that people with type 2 diabetes have better vision health when they keep their blood pressure under control. This usually means a BP less than 130/80 mm Hg.