How Diabetes Can Lead To Blindness

Few parts of the body are immune from potential problems caused by diabetes. This includes the eyes. Without proper evaluation, treatment, and effective diabetes management, people with diabetes are at risk of developing a debilitating eye condition known as diabetic retinopathy that can lead to vision loss and blindness.

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetes damages blood vessels throughout the body, including vessels contained in the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of your eye. The damage to your eyes caused by diabetic retinopathy starts when sugar damages the small blood vessels that go to your retina, causing them to bleed or leak fluid.

To compensate for these blocked blood vessels, the affected eyes will then grow new blood vessels, but these new vessels simply do not work as well. These new blood vessels can bleed or leak easily, and if they start to bleed or leak into the vitreous (gel-like fluid that fills your eye), it can cause severe vision problems. Dark, floating spots or streaks that resemble cobwebs are some early signs of the condition, and without treatment, the bleeding can continue, get worse, and cause scarring that permanently damages the eye and impairs vision

Diabetic retinopathy can lead to other severe eye conditions, including:

  • Diabetic macular edema (DME). This condition that causes blurry vision happens when blood vessels in the retina leak fluid into the macula, the part of the retina needed for sharp, central vision.
  • Neovascular glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy can cause abnormal blood vessels to grow out of the retina and block fluid from draining out of the eye. This leads to a type of glaucoma that can cause vision loss and blindness.

Who Is At Risk For Diabetic Retinopathy?

Anyone with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy, and many do. More than half of people who have diabetes will ultimately have some form of the condition, with the risk increasing with age. Women with diabetes who are pregnant or who develop gestational diabetes are at particularly high risk for diabetic retinopathy.

It is recommended that people with diabetes get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can be hard to detect, but diagnosing it early can help minimize any damage the condition may cause. Equally important to preventing problems caused by diabetic retinopathy is effective diabetes management, including exercise, a healthy diet, and vigilant blood sugar monitoring.

Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check With CGM

Keeping blood glucose levels as close to your target level as possible is critical for preventing diabetes-related vision loss. One way to ensure that you keep your blood levels in check is through Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). It is a tested, approved, accurate, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes monitor keep abreast of their blood sugar levels 24/7 without any need to stop what their doing to take a blood sample.

Speak with your doctor and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading